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FAO in Mozambique

FAO Mozambique participates in the country’s first Cassava Festival

President Nyusi at the FAO stall

The President of Mozambique, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, on Sunday (07/06) officially opened the country's inaugural Cassava Festival. The main purpose of the three-day event was to promote the value of cassava cultivation. The festival, attended by an estimated 2 000 people, mainly local farmers and traders, also aimed to increase awareness amongst the general population regarding the rich diversity of cassava food.

President Nyusi, who was accompanied by government officials including the Minister of State Administration and the Public Service, Carmelita Namashulua, the Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Higher, Technical and Professional Education, Leda Hugo, the Governor of Nampula, Victor Borges, and the Nampula Provincial Director of Agriculture, Pedro Dzucule, had an opportunity to tour some of the exhibitions mounted by participants.

At the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) stall, President Nyusi interacted with Jorge Machanguana, the FAO postharvest specialist. Machanguana told he felt that President Nyusi was very positive about the FAO activities in the District of Ribaué, in Nampula Province. "I think President Nyusi captured the essence of our purpose among the local communities", Manchanguana said. Activities undertaken by FAO in Nampula include Farmer Field Schools and postharvest handling and infrastructure, both of which are part of the FAO sub-programme to accelerate progress towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1c in Mozambique. MDG1c's target is to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. FAO Country Representative in Mozambique, Castro Camarada, said "cassava is a very important crop for food security and income generation. It has a great potential for processing in a number of sub-products, and this festival was a great opportunity for sharing information and knowledge".

Januário Manuel Silvestre, a cassava farmer who visited the FAO stall, said he was happy to receive the information FAO was distributing at the event, as it provided answers to questions he had had concerning good practices in cassava production.

Cassava is the most important staple food in Mozambique, along with maize, rice, beans and millet. Its production is mainly concentrated in four provinces in central and northern regions (Zambézia, Nampula, Cabo Delgado and Niassa), with these accounting for about 85 percent of the county's cassava production. A 2012 FAO technical note, Analysis of Incentives and Disincentives for Cassava in Mozambique, highlighted the fact that incentives are lacking for cassava farmers in the country, with obstacles including excessive transportation costs and weak infrastructure.