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Horticultural activity in the Mozambican capital’s green belt provides a livelihood for thousands of people. The cultivation of vegetables such as beets, cabbage and spinach, is a driver of the local economy.
The Infulene Valley is the Mozambican capital’s main green belt. The production of vegetables there is intense, with farmers taking advantage the Milauze river, which separates the cities of Maputo and Matola and the Costa do Sol. Urban agriculture is practised there by thousands of people. Abnério Matusse, 26, makes enough in his field to feed his two children.
In the middle of the city
The model of urban agriculture in Maputo is similar to that implemented in Havana during the Cuban Revolution. The green belts in the capital were fundamental for the survival of the population isolated there during the civil war. In Maputo and the surrounding area, more than 10,000 small-scale farmers practice agriculture within the city.
In the backyard
In areas where the land is very fertile, families take advantage of the spaces in their yards to reduce their dependence on markets. In this way, they do not spend money, except a little for the purchase of seedlings.
Some low-income families go and buy vegetables and sell them on stools in front of their homes. Their main customers are their neighbours, thus reducing the distance to markets. The beds of beets, kale, carrots, spinach and many other vegetables serve as a basis for feeding the Maputo population.
Near the Costa do Sol beach, there is also a green belt that allows the production of vegetables for Maputo’s suburban markets. From there, products go to the largest informal market in Maputo, the Xikelene market in Praça dos Combatentes.
Cabbage, the favourite
Cabbage is one of the most sought-after vegetables from the Costa do Sol farming plot, which is why farmers always ensure a good supply for their customers.
Subsistence of families
Many families devote themselves to the practice of urban agriculture to survive. Because products are seasonal, sellers say that customers buy all sorts of fresh veggies for various kinds of salad.
Agriculture is even practiced in schools. Educational authorities have introduced agriculture as a discipline, and the results are visible. Many students have their own beds, cultivated and tended with the guidance of their teachers.
Like many ladies, Mrs. Helena has her own farming plot. She harvests enough for a surplus to sell. Depending on customer demand, she returns to her plot to harvest more vegetables.
Water for irrigation
Even in dry weather, water is always available. Producers dig small irrigation ditches to channel water everywhere. The source does not dry up, so, even in hot weather, vegetables are always being sold.
There is a lot of production in the Costa do Sol area, but also pressure from the Maputo bourgeoisie who want land to build luxurious homes. There are some who have ceased practicing agriculture to give place to the wealthy.Source: Deutsche Welle