Maputo — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza n Saturday witnessed the transformation of idle land into rice fields in the Lower Limpopo Irrigation Scheme, in the southern province of Gaza, under the Wambao Project, implemented by Chinese farmers.
In his visit to the irrigation scheme, which covers 70,000 hectares, Guebuza spent ten hours touring areas where, since 2007, the Chinese farmers have been undertaking tests which last year resulted in the take-off of rice production on 180 hectares where a yield of nine tonnes per hectare has been achieved.
The objective of the Wambao project is to produce grain (rice, maize and wheat) on an area of 20,000 hectares and to process it. The project has four components – irrigation infrastructures; agricultural production; processing and marketing; and institutional support and project management. The investment involved is 250 million US dollars.
Guebuza’s first stop on his tour was the Umbapi pumping station where he received a detailed explanation on how the water is pumped from the Limpopo river, to make food production projects viable in the irrigated perimeter. The President then visited a technology transfer station which will benefit 25 Mozambican peasant families, and where 82 hectares are reserved for testing the adaptability of new grain varieties.
He also visited the Chimbonhanine agro-processing unit, which contains machinery able to process 300 tonnes of grain a day. A warehouse has been built here that can store 60,000 tonnes of grain.
At the project’s machine park, Guebuza could see 150 assorted machines, including tractors, combine harvesters, bulldozers, steamrollers, seeder machines, and backhoe loaders. The project owns 56 tractors, some of which are available to prepare land for Mozambican producers. So far, a drainage and irrigation network has been built with a total extent of 240 kilometres, and a total area of 3,600 hectares has been prepared. In the Lower Limpopo irrigated perimeter, Guebuza also visited the production area of IGO-Samatities, an Italian NGO which is working on an area of 1,000 hectares. So far, it is using 500 hectares to grow maize, 200 hectares for rice, and 100 hectares for experimental fields for various crops.
At the end of his visit, Guebuza said he was pleased at the transformation of the irrigation scheme. The advances here, he believed, are signs that the country can indeed end poverty.
“There are some people who say that poverty is not coming to an end”, he remarked. “Perhaps they expect to wake up one day and declare that poverty is no more, but that’s not how you do away with poverty”.
The fruit of commitment to hard work, Guebuza said, is the growth and change that the country is recording. “Clearly this is not yet at the level we all want”, he said, “and that’s why we must continue to fight poverty with all our determination”.