Mozambique: FAO Steps Up Support for Cabo Delgado Displaced

Maputo — The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is providing agricultural inputs for the victims of terrorism and other needy population groups in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.

The aim of this initiative is to lessen the suffering of the people forced to abandon their homes and seek safe areas following the ruthless attacks that have spread panic and terror and have made farming, the main economic activity of the affected households, impossible.

The FAO intervention consists basically of attributing "E-vouchers" with a face value of up to 3,600 meticais (about 48 US dollars) to the displaced people in resettlement areas, as well as to the communities hosting the victims of violence. The vouchers are intended to purchase seeds and agricultural tools, so that the displaced can resume farming.

Through this action, FAO hopes to take about 14,000 households out of dependence on food aid, and stimulate the self-reliance of those affected by the Cabo Delgado conflict.

The provincial FAO Coordinator, Gaudencio Monteiro, speaking on Wednesday in Ancuabe district, where he was distributing farming inputs, guaranteed that this emergency activity, undertaken in partnership with the government, will end the displaced people's dependence on aid.

"Since December, we have been distributing agricultural inputs to more than 14,000 households", he said. "About 12,000 have received the E-vouchers, allowing them to acquire seeds and tools. This initiative, in coordination with the government and partners of the United Nations, will reduce the suffering of the displaced people".

Monteiro said this activity is being implemented in the five Cabo Delgado districts of Ancuabe, Montepuez, Chiure, Namuno and Metuge, as well as Meconta district, in the neighbouring province of Nampula, where some of the people fleeing from violence in Cabo Delgado have resettled.

Other activities are also under way to speed up a return to normal life of the displaced, who mostly lost everything when they fled from their homes, and are having to rebuild their lives from scratch.

"We are also assisting in the livestock component", said Monteiro. "We will cover about 5,000 households, through distributing chickens for poultry breeding. This is accompanied by training the famers, and vaccinating the birds against Newcastle disease".

Bonifácio António, displaced from his home in Quissanga district, told AIM of the horrors he had experienced, when he had seen islamist terrorists butcher their victims and burn down their homes.

Now he wants to forget a tragic past, and start his life again in the Tocota resettlement centre in Metuge district, where he is living with his four children, on the basis of support from the government and from NGOs.

"I lost everything because of the war", he said. "I'm grateful for the support being given so that I can farm my field and bring up my children".

Similar stories of horror and of attempts to resume lives that were brutally interrupted can be heard from displaced people in other resettlement areas.

In the Maricane resettlement centre, in Ancuabe, which houses over 4,000 people displaced from Mocimboa da Praia, Quissanga, Muidumbe and Macomia districts, AIM found Issa Said who is trying to pick up the pieces of his life.

"What I lived through in Mocimboa da Praia is very sad, and if I told people of it, nobody would believe it", he said. "I'm here in this centre, and I want to bring up my children and work here. The support in seeds is welcome, and I hope they bring us food as well".

The terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado began in October 2017. To date it is estimated that more than 2,000 people have died and over half a million have been driven from their homes.

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