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January 07, 2012

Chinese technology to increase rice yields in Mozambique

Mozambican Prime Minister Aires Ali has challenged the country's young people, as well as its businesses, to increase food production, by banking on the introduction of new agricultural technologies to increase yields.

This would be possible, he said, through the use of knowledge and techniques learnt through the cooperation between Mozambique and China.

According to a report in the Beira daily paper "Diario de Mocambique", Ali was speaking during a working visit to the Lower Limpopo irrigation scheme in the southern province of Gaza. Here, in the Ponela block, a rice production project is underway as part of the twinning between Gaza and the Chinese province of Hubei.

A memorandum signed between the two provinces in mid-2007 stipulates that in an initial phase the Chinese investors should ensure rice production in an area of 300 hectares.

Tests began two years ago, and since then rice production at Ponela has been raised to ten tonnes per hectare. Previously, under the traditional Mozambican system, yields were between two and three tonnes per hectare. The Chinese production techniques have been transferred to about 20 Mozambican farmers to date.

"What we want is that Mozambicans, particularly young people and the business sector, should embrace this project enthusiastically, obtaining the technologies and the machinery to increase production levels", said Ali.
Gaza has educational institutions that specialize in agriculture, and Ali suggested that students from these colleges should go the Lower Limpopo irrigation scheme for apprenticeships where they would assimilate Chinese rice production techniques.

Agricultural engineers and other specialists should also visit Ponela, he said, so that they could understand the Chinese technologies and spread them to other provinces.

The Ponela block covers about 11,000 hectares or arable land. 7,000 hectares are worked by commercial farmers, and the other 4,000 hectares are in the hands of around 8,000 peasant producers.


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