Mozambique: Drought in south means below-average harvest for third year - FEWS
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday challenged the country’s farmers to bank on increasing agricultural production as the best way to stimulate the economic development of Mozambique.
Speaking at the official launch of the 2017/2018 agricultural campaign in Moamba district, about 60 kilometres north of Maputo, he said that increased production would also help reduce the cost of living by increasing the supply of foodstuffs on the market.
Nyusi expressed satisfaction at the results achieved in the 2016/2017 agricultural campaign. The initial estimate is that production was 8.5 per cent up on the previous year.
These results, Nyusi said, should encourage farmers to make still greater efforts to satisfy the demand for food from a growing population. Mozambicans are now faced with the challenge of “working continually to achieve greater productive competitiveness”.
“We want to compete with ourselves and with what we did last year”, said the President. “We want to compare and compete with what we wish to do this year”.
Breaking down the figures for agricultural growth, Nyusi said that grain production had risen from 2.4 million tonnes to more than three million tonnes in the 2017 harvests. The amount of vegetables grown rose from 1.9 to 2.2 million tonnes. “This is real growth. It is a real number and not a fantasy”, he stressed.
The target for the 2017/2018 campaign, he continued, is to raise grain production by a further eight per cent, to 3.25 million tonnes. This year’s harvest of pulses and root crops was 13 million tonnes – Nyusi challenged farmers to increase this by 12 per cent in the coming campaign.
He stressed the importance of scientific methods of production and of agricultural research, in order to increase both the quantity and quality of the foods produced.
“Agricultural research should also guarantee that the country is duly prepared to face future shortages arising from climate change”, said Nyusi. “Furthermore the agricultural extension services should be ever more incisive, disseminating new technologies, and ensuring that farmers increase their productivity, so that they shift from being subsistence producers to market-oriented producers”.
He told members of the government to pay greater attention to making inputs such as improved seeds, agricultural machinery, fertilisers and other chemical products available to farmers in good time.
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