The rise of industrial capitalism is very much rooted in the transformation of agricultural land, what Marx termed primitive accumulation, which entailed the separation of peasants from their land. The mechanism by which this occurred historically varied spontaneously such as rural urban migration for a host of reasons, including economic destitution and through economic policy such as taxes on rural output at home and abroad, and industrial investments in urban areas. Regardless of the mechanisms, the net effect has been industrial transformation, urbanization, and increased standard of living. Late industrializers are also engaged in this process of agricultural transformation to industrialize, urbanize, and raise incomes. However, the processes at work are qualitatively different from earlier experiences in several ways: aside from the lateness of the process and the rapidity of contemporary change leading to massive displacement of rural residents, let’s take into account the use of coercive power of the state to convert land into industrial and real estate projects, whose output is typically destined for the world market.  For instance, the Jin Fei (ex-Tian Li) project would generate 30,000 jobs in Mauritius but alas! the rate of unemployment is rising high. Since seven years the 500 acres of land remained unoccupied, that is a loss of 180,000 tons of sugar cane is being accounted. Albeit, compensation is paid to the planters, the great loss is felt at the national level. The popular political and state responses are unfavourable for the small planters. In the wake of rampant economic and political conundrum, the sufferings and miseries of many small planters are forgotten. We should not forget that this industry has predominately ruled the life of the people since 1840s. The sugar planters of today are the great grandchildren of the sugar workers of the past. They worked strenuously to transform Mauritius into a “Ile Durable”. They are living in conditions approaching misery. Most of the small planters tell their heart-wrenching story of sickness, physical exhaustion and death: of despair, deprivation, loss of dignity and acceptance of failure, of debt and destitution.
The small planters are stripped off of their land and production. It is a pity that today when the policy makers are toying with the idea to make Mauritius the tiger of the Indian Ocean in terms of economy, the most important sector is not being fuelled. It is a shame that the small planter gets seven rupees (Rs 7.00) for 250 kilo of Bagasse (the fibrous material leftover after juice is extracted from sugarcane) for the processing of one ton of his sugar cane. This same is sold at about Rs 120/ton to the Independent Power Producers (IPP), who through a combustion process produces electricity there from at the rate of I ton of bagasse yielding 125 KW. The CEB purchases this electricity at the rate of around Rs 5/KW, i.e. Rs 625/ for 125 KW. Agreed that this electricity-producing process can be costly. But, even then, Rs 625 compared to the planter’s miserable Rs 7.00!? And as to the mill owner, the whole process does not cost him anything. Injustice is still done to the small planters. The Mauritius Planters’ Association (MSPA) raises some salient features concerning these pertinent issues and has expanded their répertoire of resistance believing that sugar cane has still an important role to play in the economy of Mauritius. The day when sugar cane plantation will be wiped out of the country we will not be able to talk of “île durable”.
In view of the severity of the problem faced by the small planters, the MPA recommends the closure of several parastatal bodies funded by the Global cess, like the Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Fund, the Sugar Mechanical Pool Corporation, the Farmers Service Corporation, the Cane Planters and Millers Arbitration and Control Board, and the Sugar Insurance Board.  It is no denial to the fact that there has been a slow demise of the small planters that out of 28,000 small planters hardly 13,000 planters have been left. These planters strive to survive and they are the vectors of generating economy in the island; Giddens in his structuration thesis argued that actors are innovative. The planters and metayers are planning to bring innovation with the help of a judicial enquiry.