FAO in Mozambique

Viriato Halafo and Marcelino Foia have a lot in common: both are seed producers, both have been betting on ZM 523, an open-pollinated maize variety, and on NUA 45 common bean, a biofortified variety, rich in iron and zinc. Both have been supported by the “Accelerate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal 1c (MDG1c) in Mozambique” sub-programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), both live in Tete Province – Viriato in the District of Angónia and Marcelino in Tsangano.

Women and children, especially pregnant women and children 0-2 years of age, are among the groups most vulnerable to food insecurity and chronic malnutrition. This is no different in Mozambique where, according to the FAO Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition 35% of the population is food insecure and 43% of children under 5 are chronically malnourished.

In Mozambique, the overall fish production from aquaculture has been declining in the last decade, mainly due to high production costs and poor production techniques in the country. However, recently FAO has been supporting some promising initiatives that use fish farming as a source of income.

In Mozambique, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) first introduced the Farmer Field School (FFS) methodology in 2002 in Zambézia Province. Approximately 120 schools were established in a first phase, benefitting over 3.000 producers. Now, there are more than a thousand FFSs which benefit around 27.500 producers all over the country.

In Mozambique, the percentage of smallholder farmers with access to credit facilities has steadily decreased over the last 10 years, while inefficiencies in production and distribution have reduced the competitiveness of domestic products. The limited development of agro-industry further reduces market opportunities for smallholder and emerging farmers. Without secure market prospects and lacking risk-covering facilities, it is difficult for farmers, especially low-capacity smallholders, to access the capital needed to invest in and expand their farms.

Since Mozambique cancelled the registration of 61 Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) in 2014, the government and FAO have been highly engaged in protecting the country's people and environment. Working with the National Directorate of Agriculture and Silviculture in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, FAO has helped to promote an ecosystem-based approach to pest and pesticide management. HHPs are pesticides that present particularly high levels of acute or chronic hazards to human health and the environment due to their inherent chemical properties and that are listed in internationally accepted classification systems or relevant binding international conventions.

In the Mozambican agricultural sector, post-harvest losses are extremely high (an average of 30 percent of production) due to a lack in adequate storage facilities. As a result, smallholder farmers have little wriggle room and are forced to sell their produce soon after harvesting when the price is at its lowest. FAO is working with the European Union and the Government of Mozambique under the Millennium Development Goal 1c programme (MDG1c) to support smallholder farmers to develop improved post-harvest techniques. Since the inception of the project, over 260 artisans were trained in building and promoting improved family silos - locally termed Gorongosa silos.

In early January 2015, heavy rains triggered massive flooding in northern and central areas of Mozambique. An estimated 50 000 people have been displaced and the livelihoods of a further 160 000 have been affected by the floods, mainly in Zambézia, Nampula and Niassa provinces. Livestock was washed away, crop fields submerged, vital infrastructure (roads, bridges, irrigation schemes and markets) were damaged and homes destroyed. Belita Pereira Rodrigues is one of many farmers affected. Despite having lost everything, she is now hopeful that things will get better.

(2015) The community of Mahatlane in the southern Province of Gaza, Mozambique, is one of ten communities that have been demarcated within the project "Increasing resilience, food security and livelihoods in the Limpopo River Basin" from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in partnership with the Government of Mozambique. "Now that we know the territory of each community, we have trained several guards to supervise what is happening in the respective forests", Manuel Namburete, the local Director of the District Services of Economic Activities (SDAE), a partner of FAO in the project, says.

(22.10.2013) During a ceremony that took place in Maputo on 7 August, the Government of Mozambique launched the EU funded programme called “Accelerate progress towards MDG 1 c in Mozambique”. The initiative, which from the UN side will count on the support of FAO, IFAD and WFP for its implementation, aims to strengthen activities to accelerate achievement of MDG 1(target c.) to reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015. The programme, with a budget of US$ 67 million, is being financed by the EU over a period of five years.