Mozambique’s Agriculture and Food Security Minister, Higino de Marrule, has said his country is well advanced along the path to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030 and eventually meet one of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders at a United Nations summit in September 2015.
The official said in an interview on Friday, 9 November 2018, that the government’s policies are contained in the Agricultural Sector Development Programme (PDSA), which includes such key questions as access to markets for producers and the entire value chain for agribusiness, ranging from the supply of inputs through to processing and to distribution to consumers inside and outside the country.
“The challenge right now is to guarantee that most of the processing of agricultural products for export is done primarily in Mozambique,”said Marrule on the sidelines of the economic conference in Maputo organised by the British newspaper the Financial Times.
Marrule also noted that when President Filipe Nyusi launched the 2018-2019 agricultural campaign, the challenge he threw down was that of continuing the effort to put Mozambique on the route to Zero Hunger.
“And thanks to the initiatives undertaken by the agricultural sector, we can state that we are on the right path to attain this goal by 2030,” he added.
According to the official, his Ministry is in permanent contact with other government bodies to ensure coordination of the activities intended to boost the Mozambican agrarian economy, through a series of incentives, which should encourage farmers to produce not only for their own needs, but also for export.
“Cross-cutting measures are being developed such as the agricultural marketing plan, which will help move surplus produce, industrial and commercial initiatives to promote agro-processing, road improvements to ensure access to remote productive areas, as well as the development of irrigation,” he said. Key crops and value chains are being developed for each province, depending on the specific agro-climatic conditions.
“We have 17 strategic products in the agricultural sector, of which seven are priorities, but I don’t mean that other value chains that are promising and have a guaranteed market cannot also be stimulated,” Marrule said.
He added: “The level of food insecurity and the number of people going hungry has declined over the past ten years, while a decade ago, 56 per cent of the population had been classified as food insecure, but today it’s 24 per cent, so there’s been an improvement. The percentage of malnourished children under the age of five has also fallen. It was at 48 per cent ten years ago, and now it’s 41 per cent,” he said.
But there are still many challenges that remain in the sector. Government policies, he stressed, are oriented towards the rural areas, particularly to improve the condition of rural women producers.