Climate-resilience project helps Mozambican farmers increase yields
JOHANNESBURG – A climate-resilience project supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) is providing irrigation and drainage to small-scale farmers in Mozambique, helping boost their yields.
The southern African country is prone to extreme weather – in 2013 its Gaza province was devastated by heavy floods which uprooted almost 200 000 people from their homes and three years later Mozambique was struck by severe drought which left 400 000 people in need of food assistance.
The AfDB-supported Baixo Limpopo Irrigation and Climate Resilience Project implemented in Gaza's Xai-Xai district has helped farmers like Alima Matusse, whose small plot of land tends to get very dry in the hot season and waterlogged when it rains, the bank said in a report published on Thursday.
Total funding for the project is estimated at slightly over $44 million, of which nearly $26 million was provided by a loan from the AfDB, while the Strategic Climate Fund extended close to $16 million and Mozambique's government pitched in with $2.31 million.
Thanks to the irrigation and drainage provided by the project, Matusse has been able to increase the area she cultivates from a quarter to three quarters of a hectare and has added kale, cabbage and carrots to her staple maize crop.
“The project gives an opportunity to the unemployed youth to make a living through farming. This project is our real dream,” Matusse said in remarks carried in the AfDB report.
Since the project started in 2013, farmers have returned to the district after migrating to the capital Maputo or even neighbouring outh Africa in search of work. This reverse migration quickened in the 2017/18 planting season when more than 400 farmers received intensive training in new technologies for rice production.
The project has provided around 9,000 smallholder farmers in Xai-Xai with infrastructure including two pumping stations to improve drainage and irrigation and a 52 kilometre drainage network servicing a total area of 2,000 hectares. Nearly 48 km of rural roads were rehabilitated to a climate-resilient design.
African News Agency (ANA)