CINCINNATI, Ohio — Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in Africa. While its economy has improved over the last since the end of its civil war in 1992, the country’s true economic potential is hampered in part by its outdated agricultural sector. Agriculture is an important part of Mozambique’s economy, it employs a large portion of the population and made up 25.6% of the country’s GDP in 2020. To reduce poverty, both the government and NGOs are taking steps to improve the lives of farmers and bring agriculture in Mozambique into the modern age.
Problems in the Agricultural Sector
Agriculture in Mozambique employed about 70% of the population in 2020. Despite being the main source of employment for such a high portion of the population, most farmers are poor and productivity is low. This is because farmers lack access to modern farming technologies and methods. Market information isn’t readily available so exploitation happens and they lack high-yield seed variants.
In addition, farmers are vulnerable to natural disasters like droughts or floods, according to IFAD. For example, the agricultural sector’s growth rate decreased from 3.2% in 2018 to 1.2% in 2019 because of damage caused by the cyclones Idai and Kenneth.
Despite the dire situation, the government and NGOs have put together projects to improve agriculture in Mozambique.
Feed the Future
Feed the Future is led by USAID and has led projects in Mozambique for the last six to seven years. One of its projects, called Feed the Future Improved Seeds for Better Agriculture (SEMEAR), worked from 2015 to 2020 to supply drought-resistant and high-yield bean, cowpea, groundnut, pigeon pea, sesame and soybean seeds to farmers in the provinces of Manica, Tete, Nampula and Zambezia.
Another one of its projects, FTF RESINA, began in May 2022 to build more resilient food systems for 50,000 households in the Nampula and Zambezia provinces in the northeastern part of the country for the next five years.
The project is creating nutritional-sensitive agriculture to increase diet diversity among women and children under the age of 2, improving the management of multi-use water systems, which store and distribute water in small communities and increasing the profitability of agriculture.
Some expected results are a 30% increase in both the number of yields and value of annual sales, 10,000 people benefiting from improved water resources management and a 20% increase in women with more diverse diets, according to the USAID report.
FAMS and Farmers
Equip Mozambique, a nonprofit committed to educating, equipping and empowering Mozambican leaders, created a farmers’ app called Farmer Agent Management System (FAMS). With this app, farmers can see the market price of their product (making them harder to exploit), learn better farming strategies to increase their yields, learn better irrigation methods and learn how to form associations so they can grow together and advocate for each other.
Earlier this year, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced SUSTAIN Pro, a 10-year initiative to help the Mozambican government transition to sustainable food production systems in the soy and maize-producing Manica province within the Beira Growth Corridor.
The project will work with the local government, farmers and the private sector to create sustainable solutions to protect soils, biodiversity and ecosystem health. The project intends to help everyone involved in the agricultural industry.
Little By Little
Since its independence in 1975, Mozambique has struggled to work its way out of poverty. Still, with improvements in the agricultural sector, many Mozambican farmers will be able to earn more money and push the country toward prosperity.
– James Harrington