"We do not own resources: we have taken them on loan from our children."
I am Kritanand Beeharry, a farmer from Mauritius. The concept of "Mauritius: Sustainable Island" appeals to me and to the population because it concerns resources, particularly those that are non-renewable. These are earth, water and air that humans, animals and plants need to survive. They are our life.
We do not own these resources: we have taken them on loan from our children. We'll have to give them back their land, water and air in good condition. We, farmers, use all three resources in order to produce food. If the land is not fertile and the water and the air are polluted, there'll be no production. The concept of "Mauritius: Sustainable Island" has been launched to safeguard these resources. If we destroy them, we'll have to pay a price for it. Our plan is to introduce sustainable production. But it takes time to change peoples' mentality.
In Mauritius, we have started a big forestation project near the rivulets where we are planting endemic and exotic species of plants, reintroducing beehives, birds and fish since these have a direct link on agricultural production. No bees means no pollination and therefore no production.
Without trees there can be no nests or birds and birds eat worms and the lizards eat the harmful insects. When this happens, we use less pesticide and our production increases. Even if the trees we plant around are not meant for commercial purposes, we should plant them because they serve as wind breakers and they prevent soil erosion. We are also using some light mechanization, minimum tillage and do some rainwater harvesting. Still, this is not entirely sufficient. We have to do more to become a sustainable island.
Author: Nasseem Ackbarally / hw
Editor: Anke Rasper