Youth in Agriculture -Mozambique: Agro-Jovem financing totals 33 million meticais over 29 projects
O País / “The situation is regarded as worrying,” said Cabinet spokesperson an deputy Minister of Tourism and Culture Ana Comoana
The Mozambican government needs 160 million meticais (about 2.6 million US dollars) to prevent and fight against the various pests that threaten agricultural production.
But currently the government only has 22 million meticais for this task, the government spokesperson, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ana Comoana, told reporters on Tuesday, at the end of the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet).
“The situation is regarded as worrying”, she said, “if we bear in mind that pests contribute to losses in the fields and post-harvest losses of about 30 to 40 per cent of the crops, which affects food and nutritional security”.
The government has a plan of action to prevent and combat agricultural pests. Failure to intervene against pests “would imply costs of about 19 billion meticais”, she stressed. “That’s why we have a plan of action which should involve the government and its partners, and the rural communities to prevent these losses”.
“We’ve already begun to feel the effects of pests”, Comoana said. “For example, in Nampula province, there’s been a reduction in the export of bananas. In 2013, we used to export ten containers of bananas a week, but now we’re exporting one a week or nothing at all”.
She added that the infestation affecting coconut palms has resulted in lost exports of at least 2.8 million dollars.
“For other crops, about 48,000 hectares are affected, but we have 33,000 of these under control”, she added. “In the case of maize, we have 3,000 hectares that can be regarded as lost”. (She did not say which pest caused this, but she was presumably referring to the fall armyworm).
Pests and blights, Comoana said, affect both the economy and the country’s food security. Fruit fly infestation, she added, has been reported in all provinces, while other serious threats are posed by the lethal yellowing disease in coconut palms and by the tomato borer.