Malabo — Mozambican Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina claimed in Malabo on Thursday that the Mozambican government's District Development Fund (FDD), is “turning peasants into farmers”, and hence creating emergent agricultural business people.
The FDD is still widely known as “the seven million” because it started life in 2006 as an allocation of seven million meticais (about 229,000 US dollars) from the central state budget to each of Mozambique's 128 districts. The money was to be lent to people with viable projects for boosting food security and creating jobs.
Vaquina was speaking at the African Union (AU) summit in the Equatorial Guinean capital, where the main themes under discussion are agriculture and food security.
He said that the FDD was not only creating small businesses, but is “driving agro-processing to conserve crops, reduce post-harvest losses and add value to agricultural produce”.
Vaquina added that the FDD was also a factor inducing self-esteem and endogenous sustainable development among Mozambicans. It was playing an important role in family agriculture, contributing to an increase in productivity and in the areas under cultivation. This often obliged farmers to hire labour, Vaquina said, thus increasing employment, particularly for young people and women.
Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco, who is also attending the summit, told reporters that Mozambique is now allocating more than ten per cent of its budget to agriculture, in line with the AU's 2003 Maputo Declaration which urged all African countries to devote at least 10 per cent of their annual budgets to agriculture.
Pacheco was confident that Africa, and Mozambique in particular, enjoy appropriate agro-ecological conditions to end hunger by 2025, which is another AU target.
The AU has declared 2014 the year of agriculture and food security.