Chinese-run farms help Mozambique tackle food deficit

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Rudy Manuel could never imagine his family’s farm, located in Mozambique’s southern province of Gaza, would one day triple in output, until his cooperation with a Chinese firm.

Before joining hands with Chinese private firm WanBao Grains and Oils Co., Ltd., in 2011, Manuel’s 42-hectare farm produced on average 1.5 tons of grain per hectare, but now the number is 4.8 tons.

Mozambique owns vast arable plains but is still plagued by a food deficit of nearly 300,000 tons of grain due to primitive farming techniques.

Figures released by the African Development Bank in 2012 showed more than half of Mozambique’s 24 million population was living below the poverty line and unemployment rate stood above 27 percent.

Agricultural cooperation between Mozambique and China started in 2007 when China set up an agricultural technology center in Maputo Province.

As of October 2015, the China-Mozambique Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center has trained over 1,000 Mozambicans on farming.

And since 2007, the Chinese have been providing high-yielding seeds, farming equipment and irrigation facilities to Mozambique, as well as techniques to help ensure an all-year-round farming in the country.

Tian Zeqin, the director of the China-Mozambique Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center and local staff members of the center in Boane, Mozambique, Nov. 5, 2015. (Xinhua/Li Xiaopeng)
Tian Zeqin, the director of the China-Mozambique Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center and local staff members of the center in Boane, Mozambique, Nov. 5, 2015. (Xinhua/Li Xiaopeng)

Tian Zeqin, the director of the China-Mozambique Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center, told Xinhua most of China’s high-yielding seeds and advanced farming techniques were suitable for Mozambique, and it could greatly speed up the country’s agricultural development if applied widely.

In 2011, Wanbao, an agricultural product processing company based in China’s central Hubei Province, established a large rice farm of 20,000 hectares in Xai-Xai district in Gaza.

In three years, nearly 200 million U.S. dollars were invested in the project, mainly in infrastructure, machinery and facilities procurement and electricity.

Ernesto Paulino, the provincial director of Agriculture Department in Gaza, said WanBao’s project has helped improve farming productivity and created jobs for locals.

A worker is drying cotton seeds on the site of of the China-Africa Cotton Mozambique company in Beira, Mozambique. (Xinhua/Li Xiaopeng)
A worker is drying cotton seeds on the site of of the China-Africa Cotton Mozambique company in Beira, Mozambique. (Xinhua/Li Xiaopeng)

Another project of China-Mozambique agricultural cooperation yielding results is the Mozambican branch of the China-Africa Cotton Development Co., Ltd., which sits in the country’s second largest city, Beira.

The project provides guidance for farmers who signed agreements with the company in cotton cultivation and processes cotton collected from them.

The China-African Cotton Mozambique company has become one of the three largest cotton companies across the nation, providing nearly 1,000 jobs and cooperating with about 50,000 households for cotton plantation.

Sergio Chichava, a researcher at Mozambique’s Institute of Social and Economic Studies, told Xinhua the project has helped increase local farmers’ income and their living conditions.

Chichava said, if things went well, the Chinese projects could help solve the country’s food crisis.

Source: Xinhua New China