February 11, 2011 – MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. and MAPUTO, Mozambique – IFDC and the government of Mozambique have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalize their joint commitment to improve agricultural productivity through sound and sustainable soil nutrient management practices and agricultural policies. The MoU signing ceremony took place February 11 in Maputo, Mozambique.
Under the MoU, IFDC will assist the government to implement its long-term plans for soil fertility management, agricultural intensification and rural development. IFDC projects began in Mozambique in 2006, and include training farmers in sound agricultural practices, improving their access to inputs (fertilizers, seeds and crop protection products), strengthening agriculture market development and building the capacity of farmer organizations and agro-dealers in the private sector.
Located in southeastern Africa, Mozambique’s total land area is 799,380 square kilometers (sq km), nearly twice the size of the state of California. About 360,000 sq km of arable land is available for farming, but only 11 percent of this is utilized for cultivated crops.
In 1987, the government established a series of macro-economic reforms designed to stabilize Mozambique’s economy, which was one of the poorest in the region. In 2008, the country launched its Plan of Action for Food Production, which consists of national programs utilizing public-private partnerships to achieve an increased, competitive and sustainable food supply. These steps, combined with donor assistance and political stability, have led to dramatic improvements in the country’s growth rate. As of 2008, the gross domestic product of Mozambique was $19 billion, with an ongoing growth rate of about seven percent. Despite the successes to-date, 70 percent of the population continues to live in poverty.
The Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer for a Green Revolution in Africa, written at the Africa Fertilizer Summit in 2006, calls for African Union member states to increase their level of fertilizer use to 50 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha). Fertilizer use in Mozambique is only 4.0 kg/ha, which is below the African average of 8.0 kg/ha and far below the Abuja target.
IFDC is currently implementing the Agricultural Input Market Strengthening II (AIMS II) project and Mozambique Agro-Dealer Development (MADD) project in the country, among others. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, AIMS II promotes private sector investment in agro-input technologies and improves farmers’ access to these technologies through competitive markets and stronger agro-dealer networks. Building on these efforts, MADD (funded by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) is strengthening and expanding agro-dealer networks in Mozambique’s Maputo and Tete provinces. For more information on these and other IFDC projects in Mozambique, go to www.ifdc.org/Nations/Mozambique.
The MoU establishes formal and continued collaboration between IFDC and the government of Mozambique. Additional areas of partnership include:
- Developing legal frameworks and regulations for fertilizers
- Training agro-dealers in locations not yet covered by current projects
- Continuing to implement subsidy programs
- Conducting training sessions in integrated soil fertility management
- Creating conditions necessary for implementation of the Abuja Declaration
“IFDC staff members look forward to continuing to work with the government of Mozambique to increase farmers’ crop yields and financial well-being through agricultural intensification efforts,” stated Dr. Amit H. Roy, IFDC president and CEO. “In addition, IFDC is helping to build the capabilities of existing Mozambican agro-dealers and to train new dealers. IFDC staff members have been working in Mozambique for several years and look forward to continued progress and improvement in the nation’s agricultural sector.”
IFDC President and CEO Dr. Amit Roy shakes hands with Mozambique Agriculture Minister José Pacheco after signing an MoU to improve food security in the country.