Mozambique farmers recover from major floods


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To see seed kits being delivered to families in Mapulango, click on the photo.

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An FAO emergency project in Mozambique is providing farmers with the seeds and tools they need to start growing food again after flooding from last year's violent cyclones wiped out crops and livestock. The damage was worst in seven southern and central provinces, where about 25 percent of the planted crop was lost, or 6 percent of the national total.

While farmers wait for flood waters to fully recede, the FAO project, which is funded by the Italian Government, is helping them to grow subsistence crops. "We are distributing almost 3 500 tonnes of seeds and 400 000 hand tools to over 100 000 farming families," explains Bruno Musti, FAO Emergency Team Leader. An association of NGOs is helping to distribute these farming kits quickly and efficiently.

In the village of Mapulango, 30 kilometres from the capital, Maputo, Alberto and Joana Matiné are planting a small vegetable garden beside their house. "Without these seeds I don't know what we would have done," says Joana Matiné, "at least now we'll have something to eat." The Matiné's fields are still under water, but as soon as the ground is ready, they hope to use the remaining maize, bean and vegetable seeds to plant income-producing crops.

The seed kits will give Mozambique farmers materials for the short planting season, which begins in March or April and provides approximately 25 percent of the year's total yield. If all goes well, they will then be in a good position to fully recover their food production capacity during the main planting season, which starts in late September to early October.

Another FAO project is assisting fishers whose gear was lost or damaged because of the cyclones. "This project will help fishers to increase production both for the local market and also maybe for export," says Laurentina Cossa, an expert of the Mozambique Ministry of Fisheries. Assistance includes repairs to damaged boats, credit schemes to purchase new boats and the free distribution of canoes and basic fishing gear to subsistence fishers. Shipyards throughout the country are currently building a total of 270 boats which should be ready by March.

FAO video on emergency project in Mozambique

12 January 2001

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