Investment in new technologies at the Sociedade Algodoeira do Niassa has boosted production levels. In the current agricultural season alone, production could triple, reaching “a historical figure” of 17,000 tons of cotton.
About 17,000 tonnes of cotton is expected to be produced this season by the Sociedade Algodoeira do Niassa, a company that forms part of the João Ferreira do Santos Group and is located in Niassa province, northern Mozambique.
MZNews, in conversation with Manuel Delgado, the society’s general director and one of those responsible for the production area in that province, shared his thoughts about this increase.
“I think this will be a historical fact. It is the first time that Niassa province tops cotton production in Mozambique,” Delgado said.
These results didn’t happen by chance.
There has been a serious investment over the years in new technologies, such as the use of drones in production fields, with the objective of increasing levels of production, and having more control over what is produced.
“Basically, all these statistics and information systems allow us to be much more confident in the financial part and in the sales part. It also allows us to know who is the producer that produces the best, and what is the best yield” (…). “So the faster and sooner you know what you’re going to have (in this case the production volume), the better.”
The software “allows us to guarantee the data in a reliable way, something that no one else has”, Delgado says. By way of numbers, the official says that the group is investing around 450 million meticais (US$7 million) in the field.
The investment is also the result of a public-private partnership. “The cotton we produce is of good quality, and we have several national and international certifications,” he notes
In addition to the domestic market, Delgado says that the JFS group’s cotton is sold to India, Pakistan, China, Portugal, Germany, Japan, and Vietnam, among others.
The results would be even better were it not for the Covid-19 pandemic.
From a logistical point of view, Delgado says, “Covid 19 has created and is still creating a lot of problems for us. To get an idea, there are no containers. Ships come and go fast. You cannot waste time. The price of containers has almost tripled, which means we earn less money,” he explains.
Even in this scenario, Delgado is optimistic about sales.
“We are managing to fight back, and we will certainly be able to sell everything and honour our commitments with the producers.” Besides, he says, the price on the market has been registering great improvements. “Now, with the acceleration of the vaccine, people are starting to demand cotton once again, and the price is rising,” he concludes.
The Sociedade Algodoeiro do Niassa is the oldest company and one of the references in the cotton sector in Mozambique. Agricultural production, industrial processing and cotton export have been the focus of their activities for nearly a century.
The cotton promotion concession includes eight districts: Cuamba, Mecanhelas, Metarica, Nipepe, Maúa, Marrupa Mecula and Mandimba.
With a cotton concession area of 1 million hectares, the company works in partnership with more than 40,000 rural producers, and provides technical training and production factors under a fully subsidised microcredit system.
At the same time, it is involved in the production and sale of food products, such as corn and soy. It was the first cotton company, and the first company in Niassa, to obtain the ‘Made in Mozambique’ certification seal.
By Valdo Mlhongo