Over 244 000 hectares of various crops have been damaged by heavy rains, flooding, tropical storms, and drought in Mozambique during the 2021/22 summer farming season.
Data from Mozambique’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development says the crop losses will seriously jeopardise the livelihoods of more than 189 000 small-scale farmers.
Maize, beans and groundnuts were the main crops affected by incessant rains, which hit 4.6% of the affected areas where the farmers had planted.
This is in 95 districts of the southern provinces of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane, the central provinces of Manica, Tete, Sofala and Zambezia, and the northern province of Nampula.
According to Hiten Jantilal, from the Mozambique National Directorate of Agriculture, the impact of natural phenomena has shown the need for farmers to improve their access to climate information, to help them make decisions and manage their activities.
“There is a need to improve the early warning mechanism for small producers and strengthen the capacity to provide agro-climatic information,” Jantilal said.
By the end of March, the crops in the field were in the ripening stage in the northern region, and in the harvest stage in the centre and south.
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“In the northern provinces of Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Nampula the Crop Water Satisfaction Index (HHI) is very good, at between 95% 100%, despite the late start and excessive rains recorded in January and late March”, the report from the Agriculture Ministry added.
According to the report, water availability for crop growth was below 50% in the semi-arid districts of Gaza and Inhambane provinces. In this region, the rains were characterised by irregular spatial and temporal distribution, and several re-seeding events were recorded, resulting in failure.
In 14 districts in Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane, it is estimated that about 60,000 hectares of maize and beans were affected by the lack of rain, damaging the livelihoods of 72,000 producers.
Last week, it was reported that the recent floods recorded in the southern Africa region had destroyed 8 000 hectares of crop fields in Zambia after they were submerged in water while chickens and goats were swept away.
This was part of the assessment of a recent report done by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) released this week.
“The report also indicated that 8. 000 hectares of field crops were submerged in water, as well as houses and sanitation facilities. In addition, livestock such as chickens and goats were swept away. Initially, 500 HH (households) were displaced, then following the tropical cyclone ANA the number increased to 600 HH in Namwala district,” the report noted.