Maputo — The Mozambican government has approved a National Agriculture Sector Investment Plan for the next five years budgeted at 120 billion meticais (about four billion US dollars).
This is intended to make operational the government’s Agricultural Sector Strategic Development Plan (PEDSA). The investment should be channelled towards research, production, access to markets, and developing the value chain of the country’s main agricultural products.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Antonio Limbau announced the investment plan in Maputo on Wednesday at an international meeting of the Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI) , which was launched by the G-8 group of most industrialized countries at their summit in the Italian town of Aquila in 2009.
Limbau told the meeting that, over the next three years, the government expects agricultural production and productivity to grow by at least seven per cent a year.
“The government has just approved the Agricultural Investment Plan”, he said. “This will allow the various programmes we have drawn up to be put into operation and transformed into specific plans”.
Limbau added that the investment plan deals with questions of food and nutritional security in such a way that the products are not only available and accessible, but are also used appropriately, meeting the nutritional needs of each individual”.
“We still have a great deal to do to improve our food and nutritional security”, he said, “because we have regions where plenty of food is available, but it is not used properly. Currently we have levels of malnutrition of around 40 per cent, and over the next four years we want to cut that figure to 30 per cent. Food security doesn’t end by making food available, it must also be used adequately”.
For his part, the US ambassador to Mozambique, Douglas Griffiths, said that the AFSI initiative is establishing a solid basis for the fight against hunger and poverty in the world
When AFSI was launched in 2009, the leaders of the G-8 and of other participating countries committed themselves to providing over 22 billion US dollars between 2009 and 2012, focusing on countries and regions regarded as vulnerable. At the time, the G-8 was responding to the global economic and financial crisis that broke out in 2008, and the accompanying spike in world food prices.
“We, the members of the G-8, and the Mozambican government have approved a framework for specific cooperation, under which the government has pledged to take specific policy actions that will improve the environment for private investment and increase agricultural productivity”, said Griffiths.
The two day AFSI meeting in Maputo will look at the financial commitments that have been made in 2012, and discuss progress made under the initiative.