8 January 2016

Mozambique: China Helps Mozambique to Tackle Food-Deficit Problem

As the proverb says, bread is the staff of life, the southern African country Mozambique knows it well.

Four years ago, Rudy Manuel, a Mozambican youth, could not imagine that his father's farm, located in Xai-Xai district in Mozambique's southern province of Gaza, can reach a yield of up to 4,8 tonnes of grain per hectare.

Before cooperating with China WanBao Co., Ltd. in 2011, Manuel's 42-hectare farm only had the capacity of producing an average of 1,5 tonnes of grain per hectare.

It is not an exception in Mozambique, which possesses large alluvial plains as arable land, but is still plagued by a food deficit of nearly 300 000 tonnes of grain, constrained by its primitive farming techniques.

More than half of the nation's 24-million population are still living below the poverty line, while the unemployment rate remains above 27%, according to data released by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 2012.

Agriculture development and job opportunity creation are always among the most important issues for the Mozambican government. The arrival of Chinese help, with their advanced agricultural technologies and projects, has helped to make a change.

Agricultural cooperation between China and Mozambique started as early as 2007, when the first batch of agricultural technology demonstration centres in Africa was established in Maputo province.

It was also ranked as the first of its kind in Africa, having trained over 1 000 Mozambicans until October 2015.

Since then, the Chinese have been providing high yielding seeds and equipment to the southern African country, as well as irrigation facilities and techniques, water harvesting and preservation to ensure an all-year round farming. In 2011, Wanbao Grains and Oils, an agricultural product processing company based in Xiangyang, China's Hubei province, established a large-scale rice farm on 20 000 hectares in Mozambique's Gaza province.

In three years, a total of nearly 200 million US dollars have been invested in the project, mainly in infrastructure construction, machinery and equipment procurement, irrigation and electricity.

Sergio Chichava, a researcher at Mozambique's Institute of Social and Economic Studies, told Xinhua that, if things went well, the Chinese projects could help solve the country's food crisis.

Ernesto Paulino, the provincial director of Agriculture Department in Gaza province, affirmed that the WanBao project has helped to improve local farming productivity and increase employment, thus improving local people's livelihood.

Another successful example of China-Mozambique agricultural cooperation is the Mozambican branch of China-Africa Cotton Development Co., Ltd., which is located in the country's second-largest city, Beira.

Its project provides guidance to farmers who signed the agreement with the company to carry out the cotton cultivation, and process cotton after the acquisition.

Currently, the China-African Cotton Mozambique company has become one of the three largest cotton companies across the nation, providing nearly 1 000 job opportunities and cooperating with about 50 000 households for cotton plantation.



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