Mozambique: Minister Calls for Research to Accelerate Transformation of Agriculture

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Celso Correia, considers research a priority for Mozambique to accelerate the transformation of the agricultural sector on a national scale. "Research is the heart of the transformation of agriculture. Unfortunately, over recent decades, it was not possible to make the investment that we would like to make in research", the minister said in an interview on Radio Mozambique.

He added that investing in research will allow the country to overcome the grain supply crisis. One possibility is to switch from imported grains to root crops, notably cassava, in which Mozambique is self-sufficient. "In the past, we used to harvest five or six tonnes of cassava per hectare and we have started harvesting ten. It is our technology that has to be improved. It can make a difference in the agricultural sector", he explained.

Correia said it is also important to transfer technology and modernise agriculture, but without being completely dependent, waring that "we cannot be totally dependent on imported technology. We have to have our own".

In Mozambique, he advanced, there are currently about 300 trained researchers and more than 1,500 people working in research areas that need support and investment. In particular, "we need to support these teams so that they can bring solutions for maize, cassava, soy, and sunflower - all crops that in other countries are produced with very high profitability and productivity".

The minister mentioned that Mozambique, and the world, are under pressure due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine which is affecting the supply of products that Mozambique imports from the Black Sea area such as wheat and sunflower oil. The invasion has had a major impact on food markets. "Vegetable oil, for example, went from US$800 a tonne to US$1,800", said Correia. "Rice also had a jump but not as big as oil, but significant, and so did wheat. Therefore, there is a need to relieve this pressure, Mozambique must continue to produce and intensify all production programmes".

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