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Flooding caused by heavy rain and pests such as locusts have destroyed about 1,700 hectares of various crops in the central Mozambican province of Tete, according to figures released by the provincial government.
Spokesperson Richard Paulene said that during a sitting of the provincial assembly on Saturday there was a debate on the current situation. This followed a report from the provincial director for agriculture and food security, Odete Naftal, on data collected from the affected districts.
Paulene explained, “we have lost about 1,700 hectares of crops, with the situation being most critical in the districts of Chifunde, Doa, Moatize, Zumbu, and Tete city where there have been extensive losses”.
He added that the flooding mainly took place along the banks of the Zambezi and Luia rivers. However, he stressed that, in general, crops have been growing well in the province, except for in the south of the province where there has been a lack of rainfall. Even there “there is hope because we are still in the rainy season which runs until the end of March”.
As a result, “we cannot speak about low production levels, because we are in the first planting season and we still have the second season to come, which offers an alternative harvest to farmers”.
This is the second year in a row where the harvest has been hit by drought and pests. In 2018, an infestation of fall armyworm (scientific name: Spodoptera frugiperda) destroyed hundreds of hectares of crops in the province. The combined effect of the caterpillar and drought is estimated to have destroyed 29,000 hectares of crops including maize, sorghum, and millet.
In the current agricultural campaign, Tete province has 447,700 peasant families working 1,123,221 hectares of cultivated land. It is hoped that this will produce over three million tonnes of crops.Source: AIM
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