Crops in Tete destroyed by floods and pests
Photo : Twitter / @olmanserranoj
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has begun distributing seeds and tools to farmers affected by cyclone Idai which hit central Mozambique last month.
Working alongside Mozambique’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, FAO has started to give 15,000 vulnerable families in Manica and Sofala province agricultural kits containing hoes, machetes and early maturing maize and bean seeds. The seeds are varieties that, once sown, will be ready to harvest after just 90 days. The agricultural kits are being distributed alongside food rations from the World Food Programme (WFP) to enable beneficiaries to plant the seeds rather than eat them.
According to a statement from FAO, farmers in Manica and Sofala normally produce about a quarter of the country’s cereals. But flooding following the cyclone washed away nearly all of their assets including seed stores and the standing crops they were about to harvest.
FAO’s representative in Mozambique, Olman Serrano, stressed, “reviving livelihoods and markets as soon as possible is crucial to help farmers, fishers and pastoralists get back on their feet in time for the main planting season”. He added, “the smaller second planting season is now underway, leaving an increasingly narrow window of opportunity to sow early maturing crops such as the beans and maize that FAO is distributing”.
#Mozambique🇲🇿: restoring local food production & markets as soon as possible is crucial to avoid a catastrophic fallout on #foodsecurity.@FAO started distribution of much-needed seeds & tools to an initial 15,000 vulnerable households.https://t.co/i0cmHBwuVv #CycloneIdai pic.twitter.com/66ZH3a6xv1
— FAO Newsroom (@FAOnews) April 12, 2019
FAO further highlighted the importance of stabilising the situation before the main planting season begins in October. It noted that “safeguarding the main season and ensuring that rural families are able to fully participate in it is critical to restoring food security in Mozambique, where Idai’s impacts have been ruinous for both lives and livelihoods. Fisheries infrastructure, food and grain stores, and livestock were washed away, and hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops are reported to be completely wiped out”.
FAO is seeking funding to carry out this emergency work. It requires an initial 19 million US dollars to rebuild critical agricultural and fisheries infrastructure, resume local food production and support livestock owners. So far, 3.85 million dollars has been allocated to reach 95 000 people. However, FAO warns that a financial gap of 15.5 million dollars – 80 per cent of the total – remains unfunded.
Our Special thanks to The Austrian Development Agency for funding much-needed #seeds and tools for #farmers after #CycloneIdai
15 000 vulnerable households, around 75 000 people will receive agricultural kits containing hoes, machetes & maize & bean seeds https://t.co/puzrSk4X0Y pic.twitter.com/k5rPrMAUcm
— FAO Mozambique (@FAOMozambique) April 12, 2019