Mozambique: 17,000 Hectares of Crops Compromised By Heat Wave

Maputo — The Maputo provincial directorate of agriculture has warned that 17,000 hectares of crops (or five per cent of the cultivated area in this agricultural campaign) has been lost due to the recent heat wave in the province.

To recover from this setback, farmers in the province are banking on the second sowings, and have already planted 370,000 hectares. Although this is only 70 per cent of what was planned for the second sowings, it is thought sufficient for guaranteeing food security in the province.

To ensure success in the second sowings, the provincial government has provided 48 tonnes of seed (mostly maize and beans) to replace what was lost in the heat wave.

Speaking to farmers on Monday, the provincial agriculture director, Leonor Neves, said "We want to inform you that, faced with the heat wave which made us lose about five per cent of the planned cultivated area, we have already provided 48 tonnes of assorted inputs. But that's not much, given the scale of the need. So we are working to strengthen this".

Neves said that the rain which has fallen in Maputo province in recent weeks is a good indicator and has filled the local producers with hopes for a satisfactory yield. It may even allow them to recover some crops, such as vegetables, which they feared had been completely lost.

"Fortunately, it has rained, and it's raining well right now", Neves said. "We're going to replant some of the lost crops and we're recovering some of them".

She was optimistic that the rains will also help in the fight against the fall armyworm, an insect pest which is seriously damaging the country's maize crop.

As for the threat posed by climate change, the provincial government is trying to establish a resilient form of agriculture. Neves said this includes the use of greenhouses for production in controlled environments, allowing permanent production regardless of the sun or drought.

"Over the last two years we have set up 96 greenhouses", said Neves. "We are erecting more so that we can gain our resilience".

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