Mozambique government has come up with strategies to boost the income of cashew and cotton farmers by expanding cotton and cashew institutes.
On Tuesday, June 2, 2020, the Mozambican government announced the expansion of the Cotton and Cashew Institute of Mozambique, rebranding into the Cotton and Oilseeds Institute of Mozambique (IAOM) and the Institute of Nuts of Mozambique (IAM).
During a briefing with reporters after a meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), the Minister of Agriculture, Celso Correia, announced IAOM’s plan to promote the production, marketing, processing and export of oilseeds. It is also focused on improving food and nutritional security, as well as generating more income and jobs for rural dwellers.
According to Correia, the institute would diversify from cotton into soya, sunflower and sesame. “This was a strategic orientation so that, in the next two years, Mozambique can produce vegetable oil in a structured manner through the national production of these crops,” he said.
“Right now, we are exporting sesame to Japan and it is used to make one of the vegetable oils most appreciated in that market”, he said. “But we are not producing sunflower oil in sufficient amounts to satisfy our domestic requirements,” Correia said while promising that the government will present a specific strategy for boosting sesame and sunflower production in the next 30 days.
Currently, Mozambique generates $150 million yearly from the exports of vegetable oil, but by diversifying into sesame, the industry would be able to generate billion dollars a year.
Regarding the Cashew Institute, Correia said the IAM would expand its activities beyond cashew to other nut crops, particularly macadamia due to the global expanding market for macadamia nuts.
Globally, the market for nuts is estimated at around 92 billion dollars a year, and so far Mozambique has concentrated almost solely on cashew nuts. “We want to step up cashew production and restructure the sector, but we also want to exploit other opportunities that nuts offer,” Correia said.
For Mozambique, agriculture remains the main economic activity. Smallholder farmers account for the vast majority of this sector’s production, with over 3.2 million smallholder farmers accounting for 95 per cent of the country’s agricultural production while almost 400 commercial farmers produce the remaining 5 per cent.
Maize and cassava, the main crop in the country, are grown by 80 per cent of all Mozambican smallholders and cover over a third of cultivated land. However, agriculture is practised on less than 10 per cent of the arable land and largely in flood- and drought-prone areas.
Mozambique is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events such as drought, floods and cyclones. Also, the agricultural sector lacks access to credit and markets, low use of improved inputs and the dominance of rain-fed agriculture.
Nevertheless, the expansion of these industries poses a positive outcome for the country. Rehabilitation efforts increased production and continued easing in interest rates will help the economy move forward.