Maputo — The Mozambican Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Celso Correia, announced in the southern city of Matola on Thursday that the government intends to expand the "Sustenta" agricultural project throughout the country next year .
Correia made this announcement during the official opening of a meeting drawing up the balance sheet from the first productive cycle (2017-18) of the project, and attended by government members, cooperation partners and other relevant stakeholders.
Launched by President Filipe Nyusi in the northern province of Nampula in February 2017, Sustenta is intended to establish a structured public assistance policy for rural households, intended to improve their quality of life, and the sustainability of their use of natural resources.
Sustenta hopes to stimulate the rural economy, through integrating rural households into the development of sustainable agricultural and forestry value chains, in order to increase their income, while respecting the environment.
The project implementation strategy involves supporting agricultural production, ensuring access to finance, building the capacity of farmers and improving agricultural extension services. It also ensures that peasant households obtain titles (known as DUATs) for their land.
According to Correia, although Mozambique has achieved strong agricultural growth rates of around seven per cent a year, around 48 per cent of the rural population is still sunk in deep poverty.
"This obliges us to reflect profoundly on the policies we have been implementing over the years", said Correia.
"We are aware that the challenge of development is not compatible with expectations of immediate results", he added. "The transformation of the productive cycle with a structural social impact must occur consistently and over time".
The representative of the World Bank in Mozambique, Mark Lundell, said Sustenta is not just a project, but is a multi-sector approach that links investments from various sources and various sectors.
"Many countries face the challenge of rural development in different ways, following various oaths", he said. "But a common principle for all countries is coordination between various partners".
Lundell reiterated the World Bank's support for Sustenta as an important and difficult challenge for the rural sector.