FAO emergencies and resilience

Poultry farming reaps year-round rewards, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique

Beyond food security, some local farmers reach for food sovereignty, one chicken at a time

Nus feeds her chickens, lending to her thriving poultry farm.

©FAO/Cassio Dimande


Nus Ibrahim moved through her cool, dimly lit home. She shone a light from her phone towards the corner of the room, revealing a singular, small brown egg burrowed in the sand.

"A hen has just started laying,” she said smiling.

When she returned outside under the mid-day sun, Nus asked her sister to bring some rice to feed the chickens. Sitting on a small wooden box, two of her six children peeked out to say hello from the shade of their home.

She arrived in 2020. Conflict had driven her, her husband and six kids to flee the Mocimboa da Praia district and start again in Montepuez city. There they were assigned to a resettlement camp, where another 5 230 people also reside.

Nus, alongside others in the settlement, are a few of the roughly 680 000 people that remain displaced by ongoing conflict in Cabo Delgado province, which has disrupted agriculture-based livelihoods since 2017. The arrival of people displaced by conflict, often without assets like tools and seeds, placed additional strain on host communities and overwhelmed basic social services.

This made it harder for farmers to get back to production to feed their families and kickstart their businesses. To ensure they have the tools they need, FAO has been distributing agricultural inputs, such as seeds and livestock. For Nus’ family poultry farm, the additional support arrived just in time.

“I received four chickens from FAO, and I’ve kept them ever since to help with reproduction,” she said while scattering rice on the ground in front of her. As twenty chickens dashed towards her, it was clear her production was thriving. “At one point last year I had 87 chickens! I was able to sell 30 of them. With some of those remaining, if we didn’t have food at home sometimes, I take one and prepare it for us to eat.”

Nus, with her eldest son and one of her daughters, stands in front of the entrance to their family home inside the Montepuez resettlement camp. ©FAO/Cassio Dimande.

With a more reliable source of nutrition and stable income, Nus and her family have not only begun to overcome what was lost. As a seasoned farmer, she also set in motion a plan to reap greater rewards. "I sold each chicken for 300 meticais (USD 5) and was able to get 9 000 meticais (USD 150) for all 30 chickens. The money I received I invested in my farm. For example, with some of the money I helped hire labour to prepare the land. I also bought seeds from a neighbour.”

Nus threw another handful of rice towards the chickens.

“With those seeds I grew eight bags of rice, four bags of groundnuts, and two bags of maize. To this day, I’m still eating the food I grew on my farm using the money from the chickens,” she said proudly. “We ate four bags of rice over the last four months and the other four will last us another four months.”

With additional income, Nus was also able to cover other household costs. "I'm able to buy clothes for the children, soap to wash their clothes, and oil to cook with. The chickens really helped! We live just off the food we’ve grown and the chickens, and soon we’ll start planting for this season.”

FAO has also provided technical support to extension staff from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to ensure farmers like Nus receive sustained support to progress their plans.

But since the planting season began in October 2023, more must be done. Over 1.5 million people in northern Mozambique are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection due to the continued impact of conflict and insecurity in Cabo Delgado. Over half of those displaced are children.

FAO centres its assistance on investing in small-scale farmers like Nus under the Humanitarian Response Plan for northern Mozambique. In 2023, committed donors provided USD 3.59 million to help FAO reach 69 592 internally displaced people, host community members and returnees with life‑saving livelihood support.

But the people reached only represent around 7 percent of the 2023 target due to staggering funding shortages.

More must be done so funding matches people’s needs, and no crisis is forgotten.

Under the 2024 Humanitarian Response Plan, FAO plans to reach over 525 000 people and calls for USD 20.1 million. Outcomes like self-sufficient food production and income diversification translate into benefits for broader communities and agrifood systems. With increased and sustained support, people have the chance to lay a strong foundation for a sustainable future.

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