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Tuesday, 03 January 2012

Strengthening Mozambique’s seed sector

A new United Nations initiative in Mozambique aimed at increasing the quality of seeds will help the African country capitalize on its arable land and unlock its potential, the Organization’s agricultural agency. Launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),  this initiative seeks to help Mozambican farmers by increasing the quality of local seed production and boosting the country’s overall crop yields.

Although the country has the potential to feed itself, local food prices have shot up several times following the global surge in food prices in 2007-2008.  As Mahomed Valá, national director of agrarian services in Mozambique’s agriculture ministry, has said "it has become crucial to increase production".

It is important to remember that the organization and the European Union have greatly contributed to the reinforcement of Mozambique‘s seed sector. In 2008, the European Union (EU) launched its €1 billion "Food Facility" initiative to counter soaring food. Around €7.3 million was destined to Mozambique, where Europe partnered with FAO to boost agriculture by strengthening the national seed sector.
Under the two-year European Union Food Facility (EUFF) project operation, FAO worked with 15 seed companies and some 1 000 small-scale seed growers to stimulate local seed production in seven provinces of Mozambique's 11 provinces.
FAO, which aims at producing more and better seeds, has also assisted the government in improving its ability to control the quality of seeds reaching the market. The gains stemming from the EU-supported FAO project are significant - although most smallholder farmers, an estimated four million, continue to need support.
However, much more is needed to offset Mozambique's yearly deficit of around one million tonnes of food.

Source: FAO