Maputo — Food security in Mozambique has greatly improved in recent years, Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco claimed in Maputo on Thursday.
Addressing the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, he said the number of districts affected by food shortages had fallen from 60 (out of 128) in 2005, to 23 in 2012. The number of people lacking food security had fallen from 801,000 to 255,300.
Summarising the 2011-2012 harvest, Pacheco said the country had produced 2.93 million tonnes of grain, ten million tonnes of cassava, and 190,000 tonnes of potatoes. Among other significant food crops were 440,000 tonnes of pulses, 38,000 tonnes of oilseeds, and 975,000 tonnes of assorted vegetables. Pacheco added that Mozambique is now self sufficient in maize, cassava and beans.
As for cash crops, Pacheco put the total production of raw cotton in the 2011-2012 campaign at 120,000 tonnes, and the sugar cane harvest at four million tonnes. As for fruit, farmers had produced 359,000 tonnes of bananas and 49,000 tonnes of citrus fruit.
Turning to livestock, Pacheco said in 2012 the number of cattle in the country had reached 1.4 million. There were also 5.6 million goats and 27.4 million chickens. Livestock farmers had produced 52,000 tonnes of meet and two million litres of milk in the 2011-2012 agricultural year.
For the 2012-2013 campaign, the government’s target is that agricultural production should grow by at least seven per cent. Pacheco stressed that the government hopes to produce at least 300,000 tonnes of husked rice, thus leading to a reduction in rice imports (consumption of rice in Mozambique this year was estimate at around 534,000 tonnes).
Pacheco recalled that the government’s five year programme for 2010-2014 envisages “the transformation of subsistence agriculture into agro-business” through the Agricultural Development Strategic Plan (PEDSA).
This plan points to the need “to concentrate efforts in places from which multiplier effects can be unleashed, in accordance with the agro-ecological potential, and the availability of infrastructures, equipment, technological support, services and markets”.
Six agricultural development corridors have been identified (two in the south, two in the centre and two in the north of the country), “in which we are uniting synergies and smart partnerships to develop the value chain for agricultural products”, said Pacheco.
He announced that a National Agricultural Investment Plan is nearing completion “which seeks to identify the main priorities and public-private investment packages, needed to stimulate growth in agricultural production and productivity”.