FAO in Mozambique

PROMOVE Agribiz fosters good agricultural practices in remote communities of Angoche District


April 29 2022, Siretene (Angoche) – For three days, the population of Siretene was in a frenzy: the village in Angoche District, Nampula Province, hosted for three days its first agricultural inputs fair, held by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through the PROMOVE Agribiz programme.

Co-financed by the European Union (EU), the German Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and FAO, PROMOVE Agribiz is implemented in Nampula and Zambézia provinces by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, FAO, the Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) of the World Bank, and the National Fund for Sustainable Development (FNDS). Operating in partnership with the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADER) and Industry and Trade (MIC), the programme is executed in close coordination with the provincial and district governments of the two provinces, the private sector, and civil society.

In Siretene, the fair took place as part of the re-opening of the e-voucher system for this year´s secondary season and, in addition to hundreds of locals – being some of them just curious, and others in search of inputs, especially vegetable seeds, and working tools, among rakes, hoes and machetes, seven of the agro dealers of the commercial network involved in PROMOVE Agribiz were present. From Siretene to the nearest agro dealer shop, one has to travel 30 km. So far, the locality had not had mobile sales of agricultural inputs, an action that has been promoted by FAO in remote communities with difficult access.

In this context, the District Administrator of Angoche, Bernardo Alide, mentioned at the opening of the event that "the programme has been contributing to sustainable growth and an increase in agricultural production in the district". The objective of the fair was precisely "to give smallholders the opportunity to access quality inputs, but also to register members of the Farmer Field Schools (FFS), supported by FAO through PROMOVE Agribiz, in the e-voucher system", as explained by the Coordinator of FAO e-voucher component for PROMOVE Agribiz, Alberto Di Grazia.

Thus, over the three days of the fair, FFS members were not only able to register in the system, but also to immediately purchase inputs from the participating agro dealers, without having to limit their choice to the offer of just one dealer. The fair also provided an opportunity for local farmers, who are not e-voucher beneficiaries, to have access to inputs.

Used as a mechanism to access agricultural inputs through a temporary subsidy, co-financed by the farmer and PROMOVE Agribiz, the e-voucher contributes to the promotion of a sustainable commercial network for the sale of inputs in the programme's implementation areas. As Heinrich Van De Merwe, one of the agro dealers present at the fair, put it: "besides the sales made, it was a great opportunity to establish business relationships. In these days, I closed agreements with two other agro dealers for the supply of products represented by my company in the region."

But the e-voucher also serves as a tool for the promotion of good agricultural practices. Therefore, FAO invited 15 seed multipliers supported by PROMOVE Agribiz to also participate in the fair.

In parallel, a field day was held aimed at these producers to appreciate, directly in a seed multiplication field, whether the use of quality inputs and the adoption of good practices in general de facto influence the increase in agriculture production and productivity. Thus, demonstrations were made of the use of seed production technologies, with an emphasis on seed plots of various crops and varieties, the use of a seeder on soils with mulching, and the efficient management of irrigation water.

Calisto Gimo, the owner of the seed multiplication field where the activity took place, is a staunch defender of the use of inputs and the application of good practices: "the performance of my field has improved a lot, not only in terms of seed quality, but also in terms of increased production and productivity of the different crops I practise."

With activities like this field day, for instance, and annual trainings, among others, says FAO seed component Coordinator for PROMOVE Agribiz, Celso Ruface, the goal is to empower the multipliers supported by the programme to produce quality seeds. "The seeds we make available have a high standard of quality", he explains, "so they allow the seeds multiplied by the producers we support to compete with the ones produced and marketed by companies operating in the market, complying with the requirements of the national seed regulation."

In this context, a meeting was held on the last day of the fair in Siretene between multipliers and agro dealers to sensitize both sides to explore potential business opportunities. Since the conditions for the certification process of the seeds produced by these multipliers have already been created, FAO is currently introducing the processing system that will allow seed multipliers to provide a product with the necessary quality for its inclusion in the formal commercial network.

PROMOVE Agribiz aims to contribute to increasing the productivity and resilience of smallholders by improving the delivery of agricultural extension and financial services and by fostering business partnerships with companies along agri-food value chains in Nampula and Zambézia provinces. The programme is part of a set of programmes funded by the European Development Fund (EDF) as an integrated approach to rural development in the two provinces.