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IFAD Provides $4.2M to Strengthen Food Security in Mozambique

IFAD Provides $4.2M to Strengthen Food Security in Mozambique

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Mozambique signed on Tuesday (27) two grant agreements worth about US$4.2 million to strengthen the resilience of rural communities by improving food security, nutrition and increasing their incomes.

According to this United Nations agency, the funding will be channelled through two existing development projects in Mozambique and supported by IFAD.

“Agriculture remains the main economic activity in Mozambique with high growth potential given the vast availability of arable land and agro-ecological diversity,” said Sara Mbago-Bhunu, IFAD’s regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa, adding that “with IFAD’s multidimensional approach, we are actively promoting productivity and diversification of diets, as well as increased income and employment.”

“As we work towards the sustainable development of Mozambique’s food system, particularly during the 13th edition of IFAD’s replenishment programme, the main priority is to tackle the drivers and impacts of fragility to build resilient food systems,” she explained.

Mozambique is a major food importer despite its agricultural potential. The current conflict in Ukraine has had a negative impact on the country’s fragile economy, causing high inflation rates and reducing its capacity to produce and ensure food availability, leading thousands of people to food insecurity.

“Through the crisis response initiative, IFAD will help strengthen food security by supporting seed production for selected value chains, improving access to agricultural inputs while strengthening food and market systems. The increased productivity of smallholder farmers will reduce the need for imported food,” added Sara Mbago-Bhunu.

In addition, malnutrition is also a key concern, with 38 per cent of children suffering from chronic malnutrition in the country. IFAD intends to support the aquaculture sector to exploit the vast potential of freshwater fish production that has not yet been tapped. The project will contribute to increasing the productivity of small-scale aquaculture by providing fingerlings, as well as improving the capacity of fish farmers through training, providing technical assistance to feed producers, linking women and young producers to markets.

“The inclusion of fish in children’s diets will make a big difference in their nutritional status and help combat the alarming rates of malnutrition in the country,” stressed the IFAD regional director.

In Mozambique, agriculture generates employment for 70 per cent of the population and contributes about 27.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), mainly through crop production, forestry, livestock and fishing. However, smallholder farmers who supply 94% of the food consumed in Mozambique have very little access to mechanisation. Productivity is low and farmers lose about 30% of their harvest to post-harvest losses. The situation is aggravated by the country’s vulnerability to climate change and the increasing frequency and intensity of severe weather events. Recently, cyclone Freddy destroyed about 66,000 hectares of agricultural land, negatively affecting the country’s food security.

Since 1983, IFAD has invested over US$386.47 million in 15 rural development programmes and projects in Mozambique.

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