The impact of Climate change in Mauritius

For several years, I’ve been hearing about climate change and its impact, but it is only when I started to really SEE its effects that I realized what was happening. While conducting a field visit with extension officers (when I was on work placement at the Agricultural Research and Extension Unit in 2009), onion farmers were explaining that they had to change the planting and transplanting dates of onions as winter was starting later than the dates it used to be. Formerly, onions were planted in March and transplanted in May (for initiation of bulbing due to the decrease in temperature in winter), but presently transplantation is done in July since it is at that time that the temperature starts to decrease. From that day onwards, I started to observe things around me and see the effects of climate change. The following are some of the signs that I have observed; which indicate and confirm (without consulting any data) that we are actually experiencing the effects of climate change:

a) New pests and diseases
For the past few years, new pests which did not exist before have been seen in the fields and some of the existent ones have become resistant to pesticides. In September 2010, while being in the field, there was something which caught my attention: It was winter and the temperatures were low, but I could see lots of insects (butterflies, moth etc.) in the field, as if it was summer. 

b) Fluctuation in temperature
Unlike before, in summer we are having temperatures reaching above 35 degrees Celsius while in winter, very often the temperature has reached below 15 degrees Celsius.

c) Cyclones, floods and droughts
Ever since I am a child, every year there are at least 3-5 cyclones in summer in Mauritius, but during last summer (2010/2011), there has not been any cyclone at all. What we are seeing is torrential rainfall for some days, leading to floods in many regions of the island. Also, I should mention the fact that we are presently facing problems of drought. This year itself, we have not been getting enough rainfall and water reserves in our reservoirs are being depleted.

d) Flowering of fruit trees
Fruit trees which used to flower in summer are flowering in winter itself (for example, mango trees that used to flower in October/November are flowering in August/September)

e) Tsunami and rise in sea level
Before the tsunami of 26th December 2004, I never knew that such things existed and may hit Mauritius. After this, there have been several times when the country has experienced tsunamis (however, its intensity till now has been low in Mauritius). 
These few factors mentioned above are some of my personal observations which are inter-related to each other and are major threats to the country’s Agro-Industry, Tourism Industry and our environment. More accurate data on climate change can be obtained from the Meteorological services of Mauritius HERE.

Actions and initiatives are being taken by the Government and some NGOs, but it is up to each one of us to think about the consequences that our actions may have in the future. If we want to protect our country, it starts firstly with US!

Below are two very nice videos which show the impacts of climate change in Mauritius and some actions that have been undertaken by the Government and NGOs:

About Nawsheen Hosenally

Nawsheen Hosenally, a national of the Republic of Mauritius, has over 6 years of experience in the agricultural sector, specifically focusing on the engagement of youth in agriculture through the use of ICTs. Currently, Nawsheen is the co-Founder of Agribusiness TV, a web TV that features success stories of young agricultural entrepreneurs in Africa. Nawsheen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Extension from the University of Mauritius, and a Master’s degree in Management and Information Systems from the University of Manchester.

5 comments on “The impact of Climate change in Mauritius

  1. You are just as if telling a story. Show some facts and figures on the impact of climate change

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