12 December 2012

Mozambique: Agricultural Production to Rise By 4.6 Per Cent

Maputo — Agricultural, livestock and forestry production should increase by 4.6 per cent next year, according to the social and economic plan for 2013, presented by Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina to the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Wednesday.

The projections are for a grain harvest of 2.29 million tonnes, up from 2.24 million tonnes this year. Most of this will be maize (1.64 million tonnes), followed by rice (350,000 tonnes) and sorghum (243,000 tonnes).

Despite the government’s attempt to encourage wheat production, the country is only expected to produce 19,000 tonnes of wheat in 2013 (this year’s figure was 18,000 tonnes).

Rises in production of around two per cent are expected for cassava (a projection of 10.25 million tonnes), and beans (279,000 tonnes).

Much larger increases – 9.7 per cent overall – are expected in the production of cash crops. The production of tomatoes should rise by 34.5 per cent to 269,000 tonnes. The increase in cashew nut production is estimated at 32.9 per cent - but this follows a decline of 42.6 per cent this year. Similarly, it is hoped that copra production, badly hit by the lethal yellowing disease that has been killing palm trees in Zambezia province, will begin to recover. Copra production was more than halved this year, falling by 57.6 per cent – the forecast is that in 2013, production will grow by 13 per cent.

For tea the predicted rise in production is 27.2 per cent, for soya 25.9 per cent, for sugar cane 5.4 per cent, for onions 10.4 per cent, for tobacco 2.7 per cent, for cotton 1.2 per cent and for sesame 1.5 per cent.

As for the country’s livestock herd, this should grow by 10.3 per cent. The number of cattle is expected to rise by five per cent to 1.48 million, and the number of pigs by eight per cent to 1.69 million. The number of “small ruminants” (goats and sheep) should reach 5.9 million, an increase of 14 per cent. As for chickens, there should be 28.9 million of them in 2013, which is a rise of six per cent.

The increase in the livestock herd is expected to lead to increases of 9.5 per cent in beef production, 10.4 per cent in milk, 12 per cent in pork and 13 per cent in chicken meat.

Commercial fisheries production fell by 29.1 per cent this year, but the government’s plan is for it to bounce back with an increase of 25.6 per cent. In particular, the government hopes for a recovery in the prawn catch. Prawns were once one of Mozambique’s main exports – but the catch fell from 4,620 tonnes in 2011 to an expected 2,543 tonnes this year. The government believes that the catch can return to the level of 4,000 tonnes this year.

Aquaculture still plays a relatively minor role in the fisheries sector.

Although the plan envisages an increase of 78.5 per cent in the production of farmed fish and prawns, that would still only amount to total production of 1,400 tonnes.

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