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Mozambique’s cabinet spokesperson, Ana Comoana has said her government is seeking $2.6 million from its partners to prevent and fight against pests threatening agricultural production.“The situation is regarded as worrying bearing 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”, Comoana who is also deputy minister of Culture and Tourism said on Tuesday.
According to the official, the government has a plan of action to prevent and combat agricultural pests failure of which would incur $3.1.million in cost to repair the damage.
“We have already begun to feel the effects of pests. For example, in Nampula province, there’s been a reduction in the export of bananas yet in 2013, we used to export ten containers of bananas a week, but now we’re exporting one a week or nothing at all”, Comoana said
She added that the devastation of coconut palms by pests has resulted in lost exports of at least $2.8 million.
“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” Comoana said but did not say which pest caused this.
But the fall armyworm could be blamed.
She added that pests and blights affect both the economy and the country’s food security in addition to a devastation by the fruit fly which has been reported in all provinces, while other serious threats are posed by the lethal yellowing disease in coconut palms and by tomatoes.
Fall armyworm destroyed 20 percent of the country’s maize crop last season, according to government figures.
This was at a time when the country was recovering from a devastating drought that had left more than five million people dependent on food aid.Source: APA
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