EU pledges 370 mln USD for rural development in Mozambique
Lusa (File photo)
Portucel has invested EUR 92.8 million in a eucalyptus plantation project in Mozambique, which will include the construction of a paper mill, João Lé, the company’s executive director, said in Maputo yesterday.
The announcement about the project in Mozambique, which started in 2015, was made at the launch of the Portucel Advisory Council (CCP), a platform set up in 2015 to monitor Portucel’s eucalyptus plantation project in eight districts in the provinces of Zambézia and Manica, in central Mozambique, which will feed a pulp mill and produce renewable energy.
João Lé said that the company has already exploited 4 percent of the 356,000 hectares covered by the Land Use Permit (DUAT) granted to the Portuguese company by the Mozambican Government.
“To date, we have cultivated 13,000 thousand hectares, which corresponds to 4 percent of the DUAT,” João Lé revealed.
The Portucel manager added that the company had already invested more than US$5 million (EUR 4.2 million) in its Social Development Programme, benefiting 5,500 households in the areas of central Mozambique where it is executing the project.
“We have to ensure the combination of social, environmental and agricultural interests of communities, but always bearing in mind that there is no development without investment,” he said.
The Portucel project has faced challenges arising from the deterioration of the economic and financial environment in Mozambique, the degradation of infrastructure by natural disasters and difficulties in accessing land at the expected pace.
The nursery Portucel is setting up in Mozambique will be the largest in Africa, with a production capacity of 12 million trees per year for its forestry megaproject in the provinces of Zambézia and Manica.
A pulp mill is planned for 2023 at an investment of EUR 2.1 billion, one of the largest in the country outside of the extractive industry. It will create 7,000 jobs.