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File photo: Lusa. For illustration purposes only
The government of Mozambique said on Tuesday that between 30 to 40 percent of the country’s crops have been lost to pests and plant disease since April 2017, a situation generally considered to be of concern.
Corn has been attacked by the fall army-worm, coconut trees by the leaf-yellowing plague, bananas by Panama disease and the tomato by the hornworm caterpillar, spokeswoman Ana Comoana detailed at the end of a Council of Ministers meeting.
Authorities remain vigilant over the risk of the lethal Maize Necrosis Disease, found in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, she added.
“The other plague that also deserves attention is the fruit fly, which at present prevails in practically all [Mozambique’s] provinces,” she stressed.
Overall, the situation is considered of concern, as it has contributed to losses both in the field and post-harvest estimated at between 30 to 40 percent of production.
The plagues are affecting food and nutritional security in the country, as well as the incomes of smallholders – most Mozambican households practice some subsistence agriculture – and exports, the Cabinet spokeswoman said.
Considering data on the impact of plagues and pests, Comoana pointed out that Nampula province exported 19 containers of bananas a week in 2013, but currently exported only one.
To meet the challenge posed by plagues, the government is putting into practice a plan of action that provides for a survey of affected areas. The plan also includes management, training, the production and dissemination of information to producers, as well as the production and distribution of plants for restocking.
The strategy involves the setting up of 80 fixed and 20 mobile clinics for the treatment of plant disease, and is budgeted at about 160 million meticais (two million Euros), of which 22.3 million meticais (EUR 290,000) are so far available.
The Council of Ministers spokeswoman said that if the government did not implement the action plan, losses due to pests and disease would amount to 19 billion meticais (EUR 247 million).Source: Lusa
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