LALIT held its first meeting to discuss food security and an alternative economy in Rodrigues at Grand River North West on public holiday 4 September at 10:00 am. Ram Seegobin gave an introduction on the necessity, together with LALIT's political campaign for an alternative economy and alongside the setting up the Fron Komen Sekirite Alimanter which is challenges land ownership on the Island to Mauritius, to look at the particular situation in Rodrigues Island where the land ownership pattern is totally different and where the cash crop, sugar is completely absent. The six young Rodriguan Mauritians present were all from farming families, and each gave graphic descriptions of their families' difficulties in planting food crops and in rearing animals. Their families are experienced in and knowledgeable of planting maize, sweet potato, manioca, and light vegetables, as well as rearing cattle (increasingly rare because of water and forage problems), goats, chicken and pigs. Their families are all aware of the problems on a world-scale around food security.
The main difficulties facing Rodriguan farmers at present are around marketing their produce. They always end up having to sell "with a knife at their throats", as governments have never organized storage facilities, proper marketing facilities, nor value-added transformation. Middle-men take most of the revenue from production.
The intriguing question as to the recent introduction of tobacco seeds and plants into Rodrigues was brought up and volunteers offered to get all the information together, with a view to launching a campaign against it.
The meeting, chaired by Rada Kistnasamy, was a resounding success.