AGRA commits $26 million to increase use of fertilizer and improved seeds in Mozambique

APA-Maputo (Mozambique)

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa, (AGRA) says it will commit $26 million for operational challenges in Mozambique such as increasing use of fertilizers and improved seeds, innovative extension, agricultural financing models in the next five years, APA can report o Thursday.

AGRA’s Mozambique country head, Paulo Mole told APA in an exclusive interview on Thursday that leveraging on partnerships to enhance communication among project implementers of different initiatives in required in the southern African nation hence the the need for AGRA integration model to evolve around crop value chains, not only maize and soya beans, but also rice which is too important and a crop left out.

According to the official, the challenge is to increase use of improved seed varieties to 16 percent from 6 percent, to reach about 600,000 farm households and raising adoption of fertilizer to a least 27 percent from 4% at the moment as well as reducing post-harvest Losses from the current level of about 24 percent to 12 percent all of which will require mobilizing private sector involvement.

“Together with our partners, we are planning to invest $26 million for our operations in Mozambique targeting 3 million households on the development Corridors of Nacala in the northern region of the country and Beira Corridor in the south”, Mole said.

Mole added that this will leverage agriculture financing and soil mapping, as well increasing soil laboratories capacity.

“AGRA’s concrete efforts to making agriculture interesting for the youths, and women but there is lacking capacity among farmers to take advantage of  available opportunities, such as finances due to limited resources, the need for AGRA’s increased focus on innovative agricultural”. Mole said.

He added “turning use of fertilizers and improved seeds in profitable cropping and addressing communication gap, between seeds and fertilizer promoters to help farmers. tackling coordination gaps among development partners is also another target for us”.

Mole emphasized that at the end of the day, governments have to offer leadership and AGRA’s role is to broker partnership that create value. and it (AGRA) understands the need for coordination.

Mozambique faces a unique set of conditions in its quest to raise productivity by increasing fertilizer adoption by small-holder farmers.  n the early 1990s Mozambique achieved peace after decades of civil war that disrupted rural lives and resulted in significant rural-urban migration.

“AGRA is learning from the people of Mozambique that existing platforms need  to be used to coordinate better. There is a good sense that coordination is  already happening in Mozambique but the question then is how to improve the coordination”, Mole said.

Mozambique’s economy is mostly agriculture-based and predominantly subsistent in nature with low productivity and production. Agriculture accounted for about 25 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 and employs over 80 percent of the population of about 23 million people.

Maize experts want the government to back a campaign to encourage farmers to take up both hybrid and improved varieties of traditional maize, arguing that this would increase yields and improve the country’s food security.

Currently, Mozambique imports over 42,000 tonnes of maize a year from South Africa, according to statics from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Mozambique’s farmers do have some history of adopting new, improved varieties of staple crops.

 

CM/PA

 

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