16 May 1997


An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Mozambique from 14 to 29 April 1997 to estimate the country’s 1996/97 production of food crops, forecast cereal import requirements for 1997/98 and determine the likely food aid needs. The Mission was joined by observers from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) office in Maputo and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). In conducting its assessment, the Mission was split into three teams so that as many provinces and districts as possible could be visited. One team visited the four northern provinces and a second team assessed the situation in four central provinces. The third team, assessed the conditions in the two southern provinces of Gaza and Maputo. The Mission received full cooperation from relevant Government departments as well as from donor representatives and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) based in the country.

In Maputo, the Mission held extensive discussions with Government officials, UN agency personnel, donors and NGO representatives. Field visits enabled the Mission to get first-hand views of farmers, traders, NGO field staff, provincial government officials and agricultural officers regarding the problems farmers faced during the current agricultural season and their opinions relating to this year’s harvest outcome.

Relevant statistics supplied by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER) as well as by provincial and district officials were examined by the Mission. These included estimates of area planted and harvested, yields of different crops, amount of agricultural inputs used, prices of agricultural products, and damage caused to crops by heavy rains and floods. Careful cross-checking and up-dating of official data was undertaken. The Mission carried out crop inspections on some farms in all the districts visited with a view to cross-checking the reliability of official data and opinions expressed by individuals regarding yields. For the districts not visited by the Mission, estimates were made on the basis of supplementary information the Mission was able to obtain from various sources.

The total area planted to cereals and other food crops in 1996/97 is estimated by the Mission at 3 627 000 hectares, including 1 200 000 hectares of maize, 175 000 hectares of paddy and 573 000 hectares of sorghum and millet. This is some 6 percent higher than last year and reflects mainly the natural increase in population and the timely re-integration of returnees and demobilized soldiers.

The 1996/97 main season was characterized by late arrival of rains but above-average levels of precipitation in most parts of the country, particularly during the months of January and February. Heavy rains in several areas in the central region caused floods that brought considerable damage to crops, notably to farms along the Rivers Zambezi, Pungue and Buzi. The heavy rains also damaged the maize crop planted on higher ground. The Mission estimates that some 103 000 hectares of foodcrops, including some 45 000 hectares of maize along the rivers were lost, mostly in Sofala, Tete and Zambezia provinces.

Total 1996/97 production of cereals is provisionally estimated at 1.53 million tons against 1.38 million tons last year. This is about 11 percent higher than last year and is largely attributed to an increase in the area planted, higher yields in Tete, Gaza and Maputo and generally satisfactory weather conditions in most areas. Crop damage from pests or diseases was minimal. Production of cassava, the other major staple, has also increased and it was less affected by heavy rains. The production of beans and groundnuts is estimated to have increased by 8.5 percent over to the previous year.

Reflecting the increase in cereal and other food production, the overall food supply situation in Mozambique in the 1997/98 marketing year (April/March) is expected to be better than last year, with a coarse grains surplus estimated at 63 000 tons. In spite of this surplus, however, the country will have an import requirement for rice and wheat estimated at 205 000 tons for 1997/98. Moreover, a large number of people whose crop fields were inundated by floods could face food shortages in the coming months. Among the affected, however, those who would harvest second season crops in September would have some supplies, but there would still be a significant number that would have difficulty in coping with shortages unless they receive assistance. There are also families in some areas in the normally food deficit south and in parts of other provinces who would not be able to meet their consumption needs from their own production or afford to purchase it on the market. The population in the south has never been self-sufficient and as such has usually depended on the market to secure its requirements. While families who grow cash crops like cotton and cashew-nuts and those who get employment in the non-farm sectors could afford to buy the food they need, many low wage earners and the unemployed will be unable to get access to adequate food. Moreover, for many food-deficit rural areas, lack of infrastructure remains a serious bottleneck . As a result, prices tend to be too high for those who rely on the market.

In consultation with Government authorities and NGOs, the mission estimated that approximately 172 000 people will require immediate food assistance for 4 months. Furthermore, 77 000 people might require assistance for an additional period of three months contingent upon the evaluation of the second season crop performance. The food aid needs for the 1997/98 marketing year will total 10 114 tons, consisting of 9 288 tons of maize and 826 tons of pulse. Overall, the 1997/98 food assistance represents 46 percent of that provided last year.


Mozambique has a total area of 789 800sq.km, with approximately 45 percent of the country considered suitable for agriculture. However, only four percent of the total area is presently cultivated. The remainder of the area is under meadows/pastures and forest /woodlands. Its population, growing at the rate of about 2.5 percent per annum, is projected at 18.5 million in mid 1998. Well over 80 percent of the labour force is engaged in agriculture and employment opportunities in the non-farm sectors are very limited.

The country’s infrastructure was devastated by more than 15 years of civil strife. Following the peace accord signed in October 1992 between the opposing groups, a climate conducive to the implementation of an economic recovery programme now prevails. The Government has initiated several rural development programmes and projects and is pursuing a strict structural adjustment programme (SAP) in cooperation with the IMF and the World Bank. Under this programme the country is in a position to benefit from debt relief and new loans. Recently, it received an IDA credit of US $ 100 million, the fifth such credit since the start of the structural adjustment programme in 1987. Also, Mozambique is getting technical and financial assistance from several governments and other organizations to boost its economic development. In March this year, the Government entered into a financial assistance agreement with the EU to support programmes over a period of five years for the improvement of the rural infrastructure (roads, water supply, schools and health centers), as well as rural extension, rebuilding the nation’s livestock herd, food security and environmental conservation.

The reforms which have been carried out so far seem to have brought about the desired results in several areas. Inflation has been reduced to 15 percent in 1997 from over 50 percent the previous year. Interest rates have been brought closer to real levels. In 1996, the latest year for which figures are available, interest rates were on the average just over 40 percent in nominal terms. Most trade restrictions have been removed and market forces are allowed to operate relatively freely. The decline in agricultural production has been reversed. An impressive rate of growth of GDP, estimated at 6 percent per annum, was achieved in 1996. Export performance has also shown some improvement since the peace accord in 1992. The value of exports in 1996 US$210 million against US$139 million in 1992. The government’s export target for 1997 is US$276 million, most of which will be from agricultural products and fisheries. Prospects for achieving the target look promising. The increase in exports and a decline in imports have helped to reduce the country’s balance of payments deficit which is projected to decline from US$407 million in 1992 to US$165 million in 1997. However, the country’s external debt position still remains precarious. Between 1992 and 1997 the debt is projected to rise from US$5.1 billion to US$5.5 billion. For the same period, the debt service ratio after debt relief is anticipated to rise from 21.2 to 35.2. The present per caput income is estimated at US $90, one of the lowest in the world.

For the agriculture sector, the increase in food production last year and this year is more due to favourable weather conditions and the prevailing political stability than to the impact of prescribed reforms. The agricultural products which benefited most from reform measures are export crops like cotton and cashew nuts. The production of tobacco, which started only recently, seems to be proceeding satisfactorily. Given the low level of farming techniques, with virtually all crop land being cultivated by hand, the prospects for substantial food production to meet the needs of the country’s growing population are unfavourable unless more land can be brought under cultivation and productivity increased. Also, the lack of developed markets for farm product is a serious constraint. It is also not yet clear how the current government policy regarding land tenure would affect agricultural production. At present, all land belongs to the State as it was nationalized following independence. Foreign investors would require legally defined individual tenure arrangements if they are to invest in agriculture.

1/ A variety of sources were used for the information presented in this section, including Country Report - Mozambique, 1st Quarter 1997 (The Economist Intelligence Unit) and Mozambique - Policy Framework Paper 1996-98 (The World Bank)

3. FOOD PRODUCTION IN 1996/97 2/

The data-gathering capability of the public sector of Mozambique was destroyed by the civil war. As a consequence, there is a serious lack of adequate and up-to-date information on several aspects of the economy. The Mission, therefore, had to rely on information derived from indicators such as numbers of households, average farm size, area planted and yields realized, seeds and tools distributed, crop conditions, rainfall situation, as well as observations made on farms during visits and discussions with farmers and traders.
2/ The production year is 1996/1997, while the marketing year runs from April 1997 to March 1998

Area Planted

Plantings were delayed by the late arrival of rains in most areas which received their first rains in the second dekad of November. The central provinces of Sofala, Manica and Tete, the southern areas of Zambezia province in the north received heavy rains from late December to the end of February. Rains in the province of Niassa were also one month late, but rainfall distribution was generally good.

The estimate of the total area planted to food crops in 1996/97 is shown in Table 1. The area planted is 5.8 percent higher than last year mainly due to population growth and the reintegration of returnees, notably in the province of Tete. The area planted to maize is estimated at 1.2 million hectares, some eight percent up on last year. However, the area harvested for all crops in 1996/97 increased by 8.1 percent above that of the previous year. This is because the area lost to floods this year, at an estimated 103 000 hectares is lower than the 169 000 ha lost in 1995/96.


Yields of most crops were broadly comparable with those of the previous year. The national average yield of maize was 0.88 tons/ha in 1995/96, compared to 0.87 tons/ha this year. Rice yields increased from 0.83 tons/ha to 0.97 tons/ha due to better water availability in the Chokwe Irrigation Project and by ample and generally sustained rainfall over the growing period in the main rice growing areas. Heavy rains hampered pollination of maize and other crops in many areas and resulted in a slight decline in yields in the affected areas. This was partly offset by better than average yields for maize in the southern provinces of Maputo and Gaza.

Bean and groundnut crops also suffered from heavy rains as well as from fungus diseases and pre-harvest sprouting. As a result, bean yield in Zambezia Province has fallen from 0.65 tons/ha in 1995/96 to about 0.4 tons/ha. this year. Nationally, bean yields remained at 0.41 tons/ha because better than average yields in most districts of the provinces of Tete, Gaza and Maputo prevented the national yield level from declining below last year’s. Heavy rains also affected the groundnut crop in Angoche District in Nampula Province.

Table 1: Mozambique - Area Planted to Major Food Crops - 1996/97 (‘000 ha.)

Province Maize Rice Sorghum Millet Total Cereals Beans Groundnuts Cassava Total Food Crops
Cabo Delgado 68 11 55 4 138 45 35 135 353
Niassa 135 4 38 2 179 64 5 25 273
Nampula 122 35 130 7 294 76 69 465 904
Zambezia 194 76 62 11 343 47 29 251 670
Tete 146 0.3 47 25 218 36 14 1 269
Manica 131 0.3 32 12 175 2 3 1 181
Sofala 92 28 61 14 195 20 8 15 238
Inhambane 126 4 35 18 183 61 83 74 401
Gaza 115 11 12 6 144 35 23 27 229
Maputo 70 5 2 0 77 15 12 5 109
Total 1996/97 1 199 175 474 99 1 946 401 281 999 3 627
Total 1995/96 1 113 144 445 90 1 792 375 269 993 3 429
% Change 7.7 21.5 6.5 10 8.6 6.9 4.5 1.0 5.8

Table 2: - Mozambique - Crop Production By Province (‘000 tons)

Province Maize Rice Sorghum Millet Total Cereals Beans Ground Nuts Cassava
Cabo Delgado 63 10 27 2 102 18 11 742
Niassa 176 3 23 1 203 25 2 141
Nampula 117 28 86 4 235 31 46 2 555
Zambezia 190 86 33 6 315 18 17 1 352
Tete 126 0.1 21 9 156.1 13 4 6
Manica 160 0.2 20 7 187.2 1 2 3
Sofala 65 20 32 7 124 9 4 65
Inhambane 48 2 15 7 72 19 28 332
Gaza 61 24 5 2 92 13 8 123
Maputo 37 7 1 0 45 6 5 23
Total 1996/97 1 043 180.3 263 45 1 531.3 153 127 5 342
Total 1995/96 947 139 249 42 1 377 141 117 4 734
% Change 10.1 29.5 5.6 7.1 11.2 8.5 8.5 12.8

The rains were late in most areas of the country by one month or more, beginning in most areas in the second dekad of November. The central provinces of Sofala, Manica and Tete and southern areas of Zambezia received heavy rains from late December to the end of February due to the high activity of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone. This Zone moved gradually northwards bringing heavy rain to northern Zambezia, Nampula and southern parts of Cabo Delgado. The rains began about one month late in Niassa, were generally well distributed and continued up to April. There were two exceptions to the generally well distributed rainfall pattern, in the four northern districts of Cabo Delgado (Palma, Muede, Mocimboa da Praia and Nangade) where the rains did not begin until late January and in south-central Tete Province, where, after heavy rains in January and early February, the amount of rainfall decreased substantially.

In the southern provinces of Inhambane, Gaza and Maputo, rainfall was well distributed from the second dekad of November until March. The inland districts of Inhambane, including western Homoine, western Maxixe and Morrumbene, Panda and Funhalouro, however suffered dry periods and consequent lower crop yields. Northern districts of Inhambane, including Guvula, Inhassoro and Vilancoulos had well distributed rainfall. The district of Chigubo in Gaza was reported to have had extended dry periods and this combined with poor, sandy soils caused losses of maize crops. Coastal areas of Gaza and Maputo however, had generally well distributed, though low rainfall, which resulted in much improved yields and production compared to the previous year.

Field Conditions

Heavy rains hampered and sometimes entirely prevented weeding of crops in parts of Nampula, Manica, Sofala and Zambezia provinces. In lowland areas of Tete, Manica, Sofala and Zambezia provinces in particular, heavy flooding of the Zambezi, Buzi and Pungue Rivers, caused by high rainfall both locally and upstream in Malawi, destroyed an estimated 102 830 ha of crops. Destruction of crops was greatest in Sofala Province with 36 220 ha of crops destroyed, followed by Tete Province with 28 770 ha lost. The estimated area of crops destroyed in Manica and Zambezia Provinces was 12 960 ha and 19 660 ha, respectively. In Nampula and Cabo Delgado, flooding from the Lurio, Rovuma, Lugenda, Lipolua and Homba Rivers caused extensive damage to crops, affecting an estimated 5 220 ha of mainly maize, sorghum, rice and cassava. In Niassa, Inhambane, Gaza and Maputo Provinces, no cases of total crop destruction by flooding were reported to the Mission. In fact, losses of cropped area were lower in 1997 than in the previous year, when heavy flooding of the Limpopo and other rivers destroyed almost 170 000 ha of crops.

The majority of farmers plant crops in both lowland and highland locations and so were not totally dependent on the crops grown in the flooded areas. As a result of the high water table following the floods and continued rains, prospects for second crops of maize and beans in these provinces are good, but lack of seed may prevent some poorer farmers from planting. Arrangements are being made by FAO/WFP to provide substantial amounts of seeds and tools, in cooperation with a number of donors.

Pests and Diseases

No major pest or disease outbreak was reported during the season, but rats, Quelea birds, locusts and Cassava Mealy Bug did cause crop damage in several small areas. Wild pigs and elephants were reported to have caused significant crop damage in some districts of Niassa Province.

A red locust infestation was identified in Buzi in Sofala Province, in Mocuba in Zambezia and in Mecanhelas in Niassa Province. No crop damage was reported from the latter districts and although pesticides and sprayers were available, their use was not required. Swarms of locusts migrated from Buzi District to Dondo, Nhamatande and Gorongoso Districts in Sofala Province and to Gondola, Sussundenga, Mossurize and Manica Districts of Manica Province. However, the late arrival of the rains had delayed planting and damage was limited to 550 ha of crops in Manica District. Aerial spraying of swarms was organized by FAO, GTZ and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. This was followed up by a very successful ground campaign, whereby 30 teams of scouts identified areas where eggs were hatching and destroyed them using knapsack sprayers. Reports were received of minor locust damage in Mecanhelas District in Niassa and in Mocuba, Zambezia Province, and these could act as foci for future locust infestation.

Damage to crops by elephants and wild pigs was reported to have been serious in Niassa and parts of Cabo Delgado Provinces. Farmers are deterred from growing cassava, in particular, as it is extensively destroyed by wild pigs.

Cassava Mealy Bug infestation was reported from the north of Cabo Delgado, where the rains were late and the crop was under moisture stress during December and January. However, the high rainfall later ensured good growth of cassava throughout the country.

The heavy rains hampered pollination of maize and other crops in many areas and resulted in a decrease in yields in the affected areas. Bean and groundnut crops also suffered from heavy rains, with fungus diseases and pre-harvest sprouting of groundnuts being reported from Angoche District in Nampula Province.

Post-harvest losses are considered to be high, due to inadequate storage structures on most farms and to non-availablility of storage pesticides in most provinces. In parts of Nampula, NGOs provide storage chemicals at a subsidised price.

Input Supplies

The small trade sector in the rural areas of Mozambique was widely affected by the recent civil strife and many stores have never been rebuilt. Of 1 600 pre-war stores in Zambezia, only 750 now exist and, as a result, supplies of inputs such as seed, tools and other inputs are very difficult, if not impossible to obtain in some areas. During the 1995/96 agricultural season a total of 874 705 units of hand tools and 9 526 tons of seed were distributed by PESU, the Government’s input distrubution agency, by FAO, WFP and by various Non-Governmental Organizations. This supply was much reduced during the 1996/97 crop season, with the virtual closure of PESU. WFP provided 300 tons of sorghum seed and 200 tons of millet seed during the first season.

Concurrent with this, the National Seed Company, Semoc, closed a major seed production farm in Nampula. Due to lack of markets and low prices if a market is available, farmers have great difficulty in obtaining sufficient cash to purchase inputs such as improved seed and tools.

Fertilizers are not used in the food crop sector at present, though they are used on cash crops such as cotton, where the processor usually supplies inputs on credit against the crop. There are indications from all provinces that with continuous or near continuous cultivation of maize, especially on sandy and sandy loam soils, fertility is now becoming critically low for this crop in many parts of the country. Given the constraint on labour, with virtually all cultivation being done by hand, the case for the use of fertilizers such as DAP must be a strong one.

Credit for the purchase of improved inputs is not available, due partly to the remoteness of many farmers from credit institutions, but also to lack of collateral in the form of land or other property of value. Given the prices indicated above, farmers find extreme difficulty in saving even for modest purchases of inputs. As a result, even such necessary purchases as improved seed cannot be made and any supplies of improved seed which might be available are left with the supplier, usually the national seed company, Semoc. Semoc reported that it had 1 000 tons of maize seed which it could not sell after the main planting season in 1996/97.


Following the large harvest of 1995/96, maize prices remained low throughout 1996 and are still low with a good harvest in prospect for 1997. Maize prices in the Northern Region, ex-farm, are about 500 meticals per kg, which is equivalent to US$43 per ton. As most farmers only cultivate 1 ha or less, the funds obtained from sales of maize have little value in relation to the cost of inputs such as tools and fertilizer, even if these were available. As a result, farmers are everywhere looking for a cash crop, such as cotton or tobacco, which can provide better profits than maize and for which improved seed and other inputs are made available by the processors.

Even at this low price, however, traders often cannot access this maize and farmers in high production areas, such as the north of Zambezia Province, cannot find a buyer for their surplus maize. This situation has serious implications for future supplies of maize.



Niassa, situated in the north east of Mozambique, has a long coastline along Lake Malawi. To the north it borders Tanzania. It is the largest of the 10 provinces in Mozambique but it has a small population of just over one million people. Road and rail communications with the rest of the country are very poor as are links with Malawi and Tanzania with which Mozambique has some unrecorded trade in cereals and other produce. There is a spur railway line from Cuamba in the south of the province to Lichinga, the provincial capital, but this line is currently in very poor condition.

The crop season in 1996/97 started somewhat late. Rains came in the second half of November in most areas. Some areas experienced dry periods in December, however, conditions improved after sufficient rains were recorded from January to March.

The main crops grown are maize, sorghum and cassava. Small areas are planted to millet, groundnuts and beans. The main constraint on agriculural production is not poor weather but poor communications with the outside world, which greatly hamper orderly marketing. Poor road conditions often prevent the easy movement of traders in search of surplus production.

Red locust infestation was reported in Mecanhelas District, bordering Lake Chirwa, along the Malawi border, but was brought under control through spraying done by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Nevertheless, stalk borers were the cause of considerable crop losses in maize and sorghum, but no pesticides were available to combat them.

Lack of quality seeds for all crops and inadequate supplies of tools were cited as major constraints to production. Seeds of cowpea and beans are of generally poor genetic quality. The maize crops inspected by the Mission in Cuamba District suffered from nitrogen deficiency; maize requires a higher soil fertility than millet and sorghum.

Maize production is estimated at 176 000 tons, an increase of about 8.2 percent from the previous year’s level. The increase is mainly due to larger area planted following the settlement of many returnees from Malawi and as well as population growth. Sorghum production increased to an estimated 23 000 tons, an increase of some seven percent over 1995/96. Cassava production increased substantially.

Cabo Delgado

Cabo Delgado is situated in the north-east corner of Mozambique and is separated from Tanzania by the Rovuma River. Conditions are generally good for agricultural production. The main geographical features influencing production are the coastal plain and networks of tributaries of the Messaio, Lugenda and Rovuma rivers, which create fertile valley bottoms suitable for cultivation. Rainfall is generally adequate for the production of cereals and cotton, the main cash crop. Some flooding of these valley bottoms occurred in 1997, causing damage to crops. The main crops grown are maize, sorghum, cassava and rice, with considerable areas of groundnuts and beans also produced.

The districts of Palma, Nangade, Mueda and Mocimboa da Praia were affected by a dry spell following planting in November and December which lasted until the third dekad of January. This was followed in January and February by very heavy rains which destroyed some crops, particularly crops grown along the river valleys. The important farming district of Metuge in Pemba District was adversely affected.

Apart from a small outbreak of Cassava Mealy Bug in the northern districts, no major pest and disease attacks were reported. The main constraint to crop production was drought in the four northern districts as well as dry conditions along the sandy soil areas of coastal districts.

The drought in the northern districts along the Tanzanian border extends well into Tanzania and traders were reported to have been buying maize in Pemba area, but on a relatively small scale, due to the extreme difficulty of transporting grain north to the border and crossing the Rovuma River..

Maize production is estimated at 63 000 tons, a decline of about 29 percent from last year. Delayed onset of rains in the four northern districts was the main factor for the decline in production. Rice production increased by 14 percent, due to favourable rains in the main production areas, especially in Metuge District. Sorghum production also increased. However, total cereal production fell to 102 000 tons, from 115 500 tons estimated for last season. Production of beans increased marginally to 18 000 tons, but that of groundnut rose by about 5 percent to 11 000 tons. Cassava production increased by 11.5 percent to 742 000 tons, mainly as a result of higher yields.

Market prices have generally been stable in Pemba for some months, indicating that there is no inherent scarcity of grain or pulses.


Nampula Province is situated south of Cabo Delgado and borders Niassa to the west and Zambezia to the south. Its long coastal area includes the port of Nacala, the terminus of the railway which extends east to Malawi. Nampula is traditionally one of the most important agricultural production areas, with fertile land in the inland districts. The soils in the coastal districts of Memba, Angoche and Momo are poor. Cotton is an important cash crop, and is mostly grown in the district of Monapo. Cassava is the main staple food, followed by sorghum and maize. Large areas are also planted to beans and groundnuts.

The 1996/97 rainy season started late. As a result, planting took place during the first two dekads of December, following adequate rainfall. Exceptionally heavy rains in January and February interfered with weeding and caused some flooding along river banks in Ribaue, an important production area, and in other districts. Flooding also occurred in the coastal districts of Angoche, where over 8 000 families lost their homes and crops. The flood also damaged roads and bridges, thus making accessibility to several areas very difficult.

Maize production in Nampula is estimated at 117 000 tons, 16 percent above the previous year, mainly due to a larger area planted. Continuous rains in the main production districts of Ribaue, Malema, Lalaua and Meconta resulted in a slight drop in yields. Crops in Angoche suffered from severe flooding. Production of sorghum is estimated at 86 000 tons, an increase of 11 percent. Paddy production also increased sharply to 28 000 tons, up from 24 300 tons in the 1995/96 season. Consequently total cereal production increased by about 14 percent. Beans, groundnuts and cassava production also increased substantially.

Cotton and cashew, the main cash crops, benefited from favourable weather conditions. Production of beans was affected by poor genetic quality of seed. High quality seeds of all type of crops were in short supply following the closure of a major seed farm in Namialo.


Zambezia Province is situated to the north of the Zambezi River and borders Malawi to the west and Niassa and Nampula provinces to the north. With an estimated population of just over 3.7 million, it is the most populous province in the country. Yet it has the poorest road system of all the provinces of Mozambique. The absence of a bridge across the Zambezi, to link the province to the Southern Region is a major economic drawback.

The main crops are cassava and maize, with large areas also devoted to the production of beans and groundnuts, especially during the second season which begins in April/May. Farmers are actively engaged in the production of cash crops such as cotton, for which there is a better market than for maize. Lack of milling and processing facilities limits marketing of cassava.

The overflow of the Zambezi and Chire rivers during 1997 resulted in heavy flooding causing serious damage to crops, roads, and bridges already in poor condition. This made communication and the marketing of maize and other farm produce very difficult. The crop area lost by flood is estimated to be about 20 000 hectares, most of which was under maize. The cassava crop, which is usually planted in higher areas, was almost unaffected by floods.

Yields of maize have been affected by four months of continuous rain, from December to March. The heavy rain and limited sunlight inhibited pollination as well as crop growth. This resulted in poorer than usual cob formation. This effect was most evident on crops sown late, from January onwards, when the heavy rains coincided with pollination. Weeding of maize was also inhibited by the continuous wet conditions. However, maize in the high producing districts of Gurue, Gile, Alto Molocoue was reported to be very good and large surpluses are anticipated. However, the disposal of surpluses will be difficult in view of the fact that there are still some stocks carried over from last year’s good harvest.

Bean yields were affected by insects in several districts. Termite damage to some cassava crops was also reported. Minor outbreaks of locusts and mealy bugs were reported from Mocuba District. On the whole, pest attacks caused minimal damage to cassava or maize, the main crops. Sorghum and millet, relatively minor crops, have a combined output of 39 000 tons.

Total cereal production in Zambezia is estimated at 315 000 tons, some six percent higher than the previous year, mainly due to an increase in the area planted. Yields of bean crops suffered from the high rainfall and some unidentified pests. Bean production is expected to decline by almost 39 percent, to 18 000 tons.

Groundnut production increased slightly to 17 000 tons. Cassava crops were generally good, but the continuous rain had some adverse effect on crops grown on the flat lowland. Production of fresh cassava increased by nearly 18 percent, mainly due to an increase in yields. Sweet potatoes, a relatively minor crop introduced as a famine reserve crop during the drought years of the early 1980s, are mostly grown in the second crop season..


Tete Province is situated in the north-western section of the Central Zone and is bordered by Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia and by Manica Province. Its northern districts of Tsangano and Angonia have traditionally been important grain producing areas. The use of animal traction is widespread in the province. A large portion of the province depends greatly on livestock raising because it has a low average rainfall. However, the size of the herd has been sharply reduced by the civil war. The western districts of Maravia, Zumbo and Magoe, which have low populations, suffer from poor links with the rest of the country and their economies are poorly developed.

The rainy season began later than usual, with only sporadic rains in November. This was followed by heavy rain in the second half of December that continued through February. The rains were heavy even in the traditionally drought prone districts of Changara and Cabora Bassa. These rains caused flooding in Moatize and Mutarara Districts, along the course of the Zambezi and caused damage to property and crops.

The total planted area for cereals was 22 percent over the previous year, reflecting the large number of returnees who are now well established and are in a position to increase their area under cultivation. The area under beans increased to 36 000 ha, from 27 000 ha in the 1995/96 season. Groundnut cultivation also rose by more than 30 percent to 14 000 hectares. Cassava is a minor crop in Tete Province and the area planted is therefore small.

Yields of all crops increased, despite the heavy rains, which hampered pollination in certain areas. Rainfall was unusually good and generally well distributed in almost all areas of the province. In the south-central area there was a dry period in February which reduced yields locally.

Infestation of crops by rats was reported in Angonia and Tsangano, but extensive damage was prevented by the use of anti-coagulant baits. Locust/Grasshopper damaged some 400 ha of crops in Changara and Cabora Bassa Districts.

An estimated 29 000 ha of crops, comprising mostly maize and sorghum/millet, were lost due to floods and locust infestation. The worst affected district was Mutarara, where a total of almost 16 000 ha of crops were lost, especially in the area of the Chire River.

Cereal production increased by 33 percent to about 156 000 tons, mainly because the area under maize increased by 26 percent, to 146 000 ha. Maize production is estimated at 126 000 tons, 36 percent above last year’s level. Sorghum registered a similar percentage increase to 21 000 tons. Production of beans is estimated at 13 000 tons, and that of groundnuts at 4 000 tons.

Tete Province has no tradition of growing cash crops. However, the cultivation of tobacco has recently been introduced in Angonia, along the border with Malawi, and production is expected to expand in view of a ready market for the product.


Manica Province borders Zimbabwe to the west and the province of Tete, Gaza and Sofala. Agriculture is influenced by three major topographical features. There is a western mountain range, a central plateau and a series of valley bottoms along the Pungue, Save and Zambezi Rivers. There are large areas of fertile soils in the districts of Gondola, Manica and Sussundenga. Tobacco and cotton are important cash crops, with outgrower schemes being made available to farmers living in the areas surrounding large estates. Cashew is also an important cash crop grown in the dry district of Machaze. Citrus is grown in the Chimoio area.

The rains came later than usual, in the second dekad of November. The first dekad of December was dry but January and February were excessively wet due to exceptionally heavy rains. The rains then continued, at a lower level, until the end of March, causing heavy flooding of low lying areas. An estimated 12 960 ha of various crops were destroyed, mainly in Manica and Tambara Districts. The wet conditions prevented effective weeding during January and February. As a result, yields of all crops fell below their potential levels.

Crops were also destroyed by locusts in some areas. An estimated 550 ha of crops were lost in Mossurize, Manica, Gondola and Sussundenga districts.

Total area under cereal crops increased by 3 percent to 175 000 hectares. The area planted to both sorghum and millet also increased. Rice and cassava are minor crops in Manica Province with about 1 000 ha between them. Beans and groundnuts, of relatively minor importance, also showed some increase.

Generally ample rains in the normally dry districts of Machaze and Mossurize favoured cereals and overall yields for 1996/97 are higher than in the previous year.

Maize production is estimated at 160 000 tons, 3.5 percent higher than last year. Sorghum production rose by four percent to 20 000 tons, and that of millet by 14 percent, to 7 000 tons.


Sofala Province , situated in the eastern sector of the Central Zone of Mozambique has has a mixture of 32 types of soil in a series of strips running north-south. This is further associated with a diminishing rainfall pattern from north/west to east, creating a series of twelve agro-ecological zones. As a result, agriculture in Sofala is very diverse. The production year has two seasons, a main season from October to April and a minor season from May to September.

As in most other provinces, maize is the dominant grain crop. Sorghum, millet and rice, are also grown. Considerable areas of beans and groundnuts are cultivated, often intercropped with cereals. Cassava is also an important crop, occupying 15 000 hectares.

Rains were about one month late but were heavy from December to February and caused extensive flooding in the lowlands, mostly in the districts of Chemba, Caia, Marromeu, Dondo and Nhamatanda. About 60 percent of the population was affected by floods from the Zambezi, Pungue and Buzi Rivers and their tributaries. Crops planted in islands in the Zambezi River in Chemba District were totally lost. The largest crop losses were recorded in Caia District, where an estimated 12 700 ha were completely inundated.

The total area planted to cereals is estimated at 195 000 ha, 10 percent higher than last year. Areas planted to beans, groundnuts and cassava, also increased but only slightly.

Apart from cassava, the yield of which increased from 4.3 tons/ha to 4.8 tons/ha, yields were slightly reduced for all crops. Production of all cereals was estimated at 124 000 tons. Maize production was similar to the previous year at 65 000 tons while sorghum production declined by 8 percent to 32 000 tons. Bean production rose by almost 15 percent compared to the 1995/96 harvest, while groundnut and cassava production were similar to the previous year’s harvest at 4 000 tons and 65 000 tons, respectively.

Farmers who lost their crops due to floods will require assistance with seeds and tools in order to plant their second season crops. These needs are being addressed by WFP, FAO and various international NGOs. A Government appeal for assistance for 300 000 flood victims was launched on 24 February this year. The number of beneficiaries in Sofala was originally set at 80 000 but this has now been revised downwards, reflecting the fact that most farmers normally plant their crops in both flood prone and higher grounds and did not lose their entire crops.

Red Locust damage was first noticed in Buzi District, with swarms later migrating to Manica and other districts of Manica Province. No serious damage was reported from Sofala Province.


Inhambane is situated in the south-east of Mozambique and is bordered to the west by Gaza province and to the north by Manica and Sofala Provinces. It has a long sea coast to the east. The coastal zone which extends inland for up to 50 kms has a humid microclimate which benefits the districts of Homoine, in particular. Rainfall decreases progressively from east to west and agricultural holdings are mostly found within 80 kms of the coast. The districts of Funhalouro and Mabote are very dry and Bambara groundnuts are widely grown there.

The province has a first planting season normally beginning in October and ending in April. This is followed by a short second season from April to August, mainly in the eastern zone, where coastal showers and higher humidity extend through the winter months.

The 1996/97 main planting season began in the second dekad of November, later than usual. Rains were poor during December, but conditions improved when heavy rains came in the first dekad of January.

Rains declined in late January and early February, but good rains were again received in the second dekad of February and continued until mid- March, when another dry period occurred. Compared to last year, the rainfall pattern this year was less favorable and this is reflected in lower yields and production. The coastal districts of Govuro, Inhassoro, and Vilancoulos had a better season than the rest of Inhambane. The district of Jamgamo suffered from insufficient rain during the season.

The total area planted to cereals is estimsted at 183 000 hectares, slightly up from last year. Area planted to beans and groundnuts showed small declines.

No major pest or disease outbreak was reported. However, some damage to crops by rats was reported from Panda and Massinga districts.

Maize yields were below the 1995/96 levels, reflecting insufficient and poorly distributed rainfall. There was also a decline in the yields of sorghum and millet owing to very dry conditions in the interior of the province. Bean and groundnut yields also suffered but cassava yields increased.

Production of cereals declined by an estimated 22 percent to 72 000 tons. Bean output is estimated at 19 000 tons, about five percent higher than last year. The increase is mainly due to larger plantings and small rise in yields. Groundnut production declined but that of cassava rose. Supply of cassava has been reported to be ample.

Despite the generally poorer season for food crops the food supply situation in Inhambane is still considerably better than in the drought year of 1994/95. As farmers in this province have some other sources of income like cashew production, livestock raising, collection of firewood and fishing, they are not as vulnerable as others in many food deficit areas in the country.


Located in the south east of Mozambique and stretching from the coast to the border with South Africa and Zimbabwe, Gaza is bordered to the north by Inhambane Province and by Maputo Province to the south. Much of the province is very dry and beyond the narrow coastal strip centred on Xai-Xai, rainfed agriculture is confined to the river valleys of the Limpopo, Changane and Elephant rivers.

Rice is grown on some 11 000 ha, mainly on a large irrigation scheme at Chokwe, on the coastal plain west of Xai-Xai. The dam feeding the Chokwe Irrigation Scheme was full prior to the beginning of the main cropping season in 1996/97 ensuring the availability of ample water supplies for the rice crop. Rice yields are estimated to have increased by 33 percent over those of the previous year, to 2 tons per ha.

The coastal zone away from the irrigated areas is characterised by a cashew/coconut/cassava/agroforestry production system, with beans, groundnuts and maize grown in both first and second seasons. Gaza differs from other provinces in that the output from the first and second seasons is roughly equal, whereas elsewhere, the first season’s crop is much more important than the second season.

The rainy season started in the second dekad of November, almost two months later than usual. Crops planted during October were adversely affected, but good rains in December favoured crop establishment. Heavy rains in January were unfavourable to maize grown in Chokwe Irrigation Scheme, because of deteriorating drainage systems. In the northern districts, which are normally very dry, insufficient rainfall from February, combined with high temperatures, reduced maize yields. Sorghum and millet crops were less affected, however. Rainfall distribution was mostly better than normal and damage due to flood has not been reported. Last year, the province experienced serious flood damage to crops.

Quelea birds damaged crops of millet and sorghum in the northern areas of Gaza and rats caused considerable damage to maize crops along the river valleys.

The total area planted to annual food crops in 1996/97 is estimated at 229 000 ha, including 115 000 ha of maize. The area under beans, cassava and groundnuts is estimated at 35 000 ha, 27 000 ha and 12 000 ha respectively. The increase in the total area planted by some 15 percent, despite the shortage of seed caused by the termination of the input supply programme of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, reflects farmers’ deliberate attempt to increase production. WFP and certain NGOs distributed millet and sorthum seeds in the central and northern districts.

Production of maize is estimated at 61 000 tons, an increase of 130 percent over the previous year. Rice production almost quadrupled, from 6 546 tons to 24 000 tons. Sorghum and millet production also increased substantially to 5 000 and 2 000 tons, respectively, an increase of 71 percent over the total 1995/96 harvest for these crops. Production of beans increased by 57 percent to 13 000 tons, while groundnut production increased by 53 percent to an estimated 8 000 tons. Cassava registered a 21 percent increase to 123 000 tons of fresh cassava.


Maputo is situated in the extreme south of Mozambique and has the smallest agricultural area of all the 10 provinces of the country. The province is divided into seven districts, two of which, Magude and Manhica, normally produce about half of its agricultural output. The main cerea is maize, despite the fact that the climatic and soil conditions of the area are quite unsuitable for its cultivation under rainfed conditions.

Cashew production is an important income source, with an estimated 500 000 trees growing in the coastal areas. In the interior, livestock raising used to be one of the main activities and this industry is steadily recovering from the effects of the civil strife.

Plantings were delayed in the 1996/97 season because the first rains came in the second dekad of November, about a month later than usual. Some crops in Boane District which were planted in October, following the first rains, did not survive and replanting had to be undertaken. Rainfall in the first two dekads of December provided favourable conditions for crop establishment and after a short dry spell in late December, the rains resumed at a low level, but distribution was satisfactory until the end of March. As a result, crop growth was much better than average. There was no major flooding of the Sabie-Incomati and Maputo rivers, a factor which had caused serious crop losses in the previous year. However, some maize crops grown on lowlands in Manhica District were affected by poor drainage following heavy local rains in January and March.

The area planted to maize was 70 000 ha, an increase of 3.4 percent over the previous year, while area planted to sorghum increased by 13 percent to 2 000 ha. The area planted to beans and groundnuts increased by 6 percent to 27 000 ha. Cassava plantings remained unchanged at 5 000 ha.

Yields of maize increased from 0.32 tons/ha to 0.52 tons/ha, while rice yields increased by 33 percent to 1.32 tons/ha. Yields of beans and groundnuts increased by 7.7 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

In the absence of the flooding and drought problems which sharply reduced production of all cereals in 1995/96, production of maize increased by 143 percent to reach 37 000 tons. Rice production increased by 57 percent to 7 000 tons, while bean and groundnut production rose by 16 percent and 30 percent respectively, to 6 000 tons and 5 000 tons.

Sugar cane and banana are important cash crops in Manhica District and these crops were favoured by the generally well distributed rainfall. Cashew production was also reported to have increased. Conditions for livestock were good, with adequate pasture for the steadily increasing herds of cattle and goats.


The outlook for food supply in 1997/98 is favourable, reflecting a good harvest of food crops in the 1996/97 season and some stocks of cereals carried over from the last marketing year. These carry-over stocks of cereals are estimated at some 30 000 tons, including 20 000 tons of maize held by the Cereals Institute of Mozambique for lack of buyers. Although it is generally true that peasant production in Mozambique has traditionally been insufficient to meet requirements beyond a year, some studies indicate that the number of households that carry stocks into a new year is significant. However, a large number of farmers do not carry stocks. For the majority, stocks are usually exhausted by December/January, 3 - 4 months before the next harvest. In addition, many farmers sell any maize they consider to be surplus immediately after harvest, to the extent they find buyers, to obtain cash for the purchase of other food and non-food needs. In doing so, they eliminate risks associated with carrying stocks. This behaviour has particularly been reinforced by the difficulties experienced during the civil strife. Frequent raids by armed persons and the fear of being displaced without any warning have made farmers adopt the cautious measure to convert farm produce into cash, which can be kept more safely.

As a result of the good harvest, the total cereal import requirement in 1997/98 marketing year (April/March) will be lower than last year. It is currently estimated at 205 000 tons, (rice and wheat only), and is some 46 percent below the level estimated for 1996/97. Maize is not expected to be imported as the country is anticipated to have a surplus, estimated at 42 000 tons. However, some maize may need to be imported if donors choose not to make local purchases for distribution to flood affected victims. The consumption of cassava is anticipated to rise in Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Zambezia, Inhambane and Niassa as well as in many parts of the remaining provinces, where cassava constitutes the main food staple.

The Mission estimates that out of the total cereal import requirement, 102 000 tons will be covered by commercial imports, leaving a deficit of 103 000 tons to be covered by food aid. Emergency food aid is estimated at 10 000 tons, including 1 000 tons of pulses, which can be secured through local purchases.

The national food grain balance is shown in Table 3.

In terms of food availability by region, the Northern and Central Regions are surplus producers of coarse grains, mostly maize. These two regions are the main suppliers of the domestic market and also have informal trade links with neighbouring countries.

Food production in the Southern Region has always been below requirements. The Region is deficient in all types of grains and is heavily dependent on the market to cover needs. The source of supply is provided by the Northern and Central Regions as well as by South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Table 3. Mozambique: Foodgrain Balance Sheet 1997/98 (‘000 tons)

Maize Rice Wheat Sorghum & Millet Total Cereals Pulses
A. Domestic Availability 1 093 118 0 318 1 529 153
Opening Stocks 50 0 0 10 60 0
Production 1 043 118 0 308 1 469 153
B. Utilization 1 093 179 144 318 1 734 168
Food Use 1/ 926 170 137 260 1 493 153
Other Uses and losses 2/ 125 9 7 37 178 15
Closing Stocks 42 0 0 21 63 0
C. Import Requirement 0 61 144 0 205 15
- Commercial 0 30 72 0 102 14
- Food Aid 9 31 72 0 103 1
-of which emergency 9 0 0 0 9 1

1/ Based on population (18.53 million) and percaput consumption (kg/yr), reflecting historical levels of: maize: 50; rice: 9.2;wheat: 7.3; sorghum and millet 3.9; total cereals: 80.4; pulses: 8.2.
2/ The following are assumed as percent of total production: maize/sorghum/millet 12%, rice 8%, wheat 5%.

Emergency food aid requirements

The 1996/97 agricultural season recorded a significant improvement in production due to favourable conditions that prevailed in the country, namely, restoration of peace, re-integration of the returnee population into economic and social life and favourable climatic conditions. As a result of the remarkable recovery of agricultural production both during 1995/96 and 1996/97, emergency food aid assistance to the country has subsequently decreased. However, despite steady improvements in the national food supply and security, there are areas of the country that are experiencing transitory food insecurity particularly as a result of flooding.

Three important conditions were taken into consideration in understanding and interpreting the season’s crop performance and resulting food security interventions. First, the central and northern provinces enjoyed better than average rainfall throughout the season as did the traditionally drier provinces of the southern region. The excessive rains in many districts, specially in the planalto (highland areas) tended to decrease crop productivity. In the extreme northern districts of Cabo Delgado, conditions of below average rainfall (moisture stress) were reported in the districts of Nangada, Palma, Mueda and Mociboa da Praia. Due to the above average rains for the season, coastal and river-basin districts suffered flood damage. Flooding was reported in all coastal and river-basin districts in the central and northern provinces. It is estimated that some 103 000 ha of crop lands were lost to the floods.

The Mission visited the following Provinces: in the north, the provinces of Niassa, Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Zambezia; in the central region, the provinces of Tete, Sofala and Manica, and in the southern region, the provinces of Inhambane, Maputo and Gaza.

Mission members were informed by the Government that a large number of subsistence farmers were unable to plant the second crop as most crop lands have remained under water. Therefore, it would be vital to reassess the food aid need for the affected areas as soon as water levels recede and planting activities start.

The Mission also estimated that during the year an average of 77 000 persons will be in need of emergency food assistance for another 4 months (a new EMOP is being formulated to assist 77 000 who may require assistance for a period of six months beyond the second harvest (November-April). The mission adopted the prevailing ration rate of 450g of maize and 40g of pulses per day.

During the discussion with the Government and NGO partners, it was agreed that food aid would target the most vulnerable populations i.e. female headed households, children, disabled and farmers who have lost their agricultural fields. This selection criteria should rigorously be scrutinised by implementing partners i.e. Government, NGO’s and DPCCN (Departamento Provincial de Combate as Calamidades Naturais). As the Government successfully issued ration cards during the 1995/96 relief operation, the mission agreed with DPCCN that a similar registration exercise for food aid for 1997/98 should be undertaken. After detailed discussions with all relevant members of the Government authorities and NGO’s, the mission recommended that 20 percent of food allocated for emergency food assistance for 1997/98 be utilized for FFW (food for work) with the emphasis on the improvement of rural infrastructures and rehabilitation of secondary and tertiary roads to enable food to be transported to markets. Another very important element for FFW would be the construction and improvement of the dyke system to reduce the overwhelming floods that occur periodically. Estimated food aid allocations for 1997/98 are shown in Table 4.

Table 4: Food Aid Allocation by Regions and Provinces - 1997/98

Region Province Number of Beneficiaries Food aid needs (maize) MT Food aid needs (pulses) MT
Northern Niassa 10 000 540 48

C.Delgado 15 000 810 72

Nampula 15 000 810 72

Zambezia 18 500 999 89
Central Tete 67 000 3 618 322

Sofala 26 500 1 431 127

Manica 15 000 810 72
Southern Inhambane --- --- ---

Maputo 5 000 270 24

Gaza ---
172 000 9 288 826

As noted in 1996/97 and in most Emergency Programmes food has been delivered by WFP, WVI (World Vision International) and DPCCN. The World Food Programme has been in the forefront, handling over 80 percent of the commodities to some 109 EDP points, the remaining 20 percent mainly transported by DPCCN. The secondary transportation from EDP’s to final delivery points include distribution to the recipients by 11 NGO’s (6) and DPCCN.

It has been noted that since the peace process, a different form of emergency food aid assistance has evolved in Mozambique as agricultural production has improved. The objective will be to target localized areas of disaster, consequently reducing significantly the number of beneficiaries and tonnage of food aid.

This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources and is for official use only. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required.

Abdur Rashid
Telex 610181 FAO I
Fax: 0039-6-5225-4495
E-mail: INTERNET: [email protected]
Mohamed Zejjari
Director, OSA, WFP
Telex: 626675 WFP 1
Fax: 0039-6-5228-2839

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