The Mozambican authorities expect the country’s agricultural sector to grow by about eight per cent this year, according to Agriculture Minister Celso Correia.
He was speaking in Maputo on Thursday during the ceremony announcing the preliminary results of the 2020 agricultural survey, carried out between September 2020 and May 2021. The survey covered 873 large commercial farms and plantations, 93,183 medium-sized farms and 4.17 million small farms.
The survey found that only 6.9 percent of farms have access to the services of rural extensionists. 9.7 percent use certified seeds, and a minuscule 0.6 percent have access to agricultural credit.
9.1 percent of the farms use irrigation, 7.8 percent use chemical fertilisers, and 5.5 percent use pesticides.
39.9 percent have information about the prices of agricultural products. This latter figure is a significant improvement on the previous agricultural survey, in 2017, when only 18.4 percent of farmers had access to pricing data.
The survey puts post-harvest losses at 13.5 percent, which is much the same as in 2017.
The survey cost 200 million meticais (about US$3.26M, at current exchange rates), and was undertaken by the National Statistics Institute (INE), with the support of the World Bank and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
According to the INE chairperson, Elisa Magaua, the survey covered 141 districts. Because of the security situation, eight districts in the northern province of Cabo Delgado could not be surveyed (Mocimboa da Praia, Palma, Macomia, Mueda, Quissanga, Ibo, Nangade and Meluco).
Magaua said that Chinde district, at the mouth of the Zambezi river in Zambezia province, could not be reached because of access problems. Four other districts were not covered, but Magaua did not name them, or say why they had been excluded.
Despite the omissions, Magaua said the survey results are reliable, because the survey teams had access to all the necessary logistical and technological conditions.
Correia told journalists after the ceremony “our target is to become a country that is self-sufficient in agricultural production”. He believed Mozambique was on the right path, thanks largely to the government’s flagship agricultural development programme, “Sustenta”.
He added that, according to the survey results, production of at least two million tonnes of grain this year was already guaranteed.
The definitive results from the survey should be published on 15 June.