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July 27, 2008

Mozambique green revolution will depend on smallscale farmers

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza has declared that the success of the green revolution in Mozambique lies in the hands of the family sector, not of big projects such as Mozagrius.

Mozagrius was a grandiose scheme in the mid-1990s, whereby South African farmers were to be attracted to Niassa, where their mechanized agriculture would boost production. But although some of the South African media compared the scheme to a second "great trek", in fact only a dozen or so South Africans came to Niassa, and most left within a few years. The money was never forthcoming and the scheme collapsed.

Guebuza said that the government intends to increase the number of rural extensionists and provide them with conditions to assist the family producers with major problems.

Agriculture Minister Soares Nhaca said that the government is planning to recruit 185 extensionists this year to add to the 577 who are already working across the country.

According to Guebuza, large scale projects may not respond to the goals of the green revolution because their primary objective is to make a profit.However, he acknowledged the role played by commercial farmers in increasing production and productivity, reiterating that the family sector is the key to success in food self-sufficiency.

He said that in parallel with strengthening the family sector, it is necessary to improve access roads to ensure easy circulation of people and goods, given the great farming potential of Niassa, the largest but most sparsely populated province in the country.

Addressing a rally in Mecanhelas, Guebuza urged the residents to take advantage of the district's potential, notably in rice, to increase production and help the country stop importing what it has the capacity to produce and even export.


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