An agricultural program introduced by our Mozal Aluminium operation has helped improve the lives of more than 600 local farmers.
Known as AGROMOZAL, the program is a partnership with a local NGO FUNDASO and is being rolled out with ten agricultural associations in the Boane and Namaacha districts in Maputo Provinc.
Their goal is to fight poverty and end hunger by increasing agricultural production and productivity and enhancing competitiveness of the agribusiness value chain in the two districts.
Research shows the local agricultural sector has the potential to double its current production levels, with the primary challenges being low rates of agricultural marketing and limited access to financial resources such as seeds, irrigation and fertilizers.
The program started with a soil characterisation study to determine optimal crops and agricultural production techniques for use in the area. Farmers then received training on soil management, vegetable selection, irrigation methods, pest and disease management, and financial planning.
Farmers use organic fertilizers and gravity and drip irrigation systems to produce maize, beans, sweet potatoes and other vegetables. Methods are based on a hybrid sombrite model with a 25,000 litre water tower for irrigation, which is strategically located to support neighbouring associations in the region.
To promote independence and sustainability, the project supports farmers with 60 per cent to co-purchase inputs such as good quality seeds and other essential equipment.
After the first year of implementation, AGROMOZAL has had a positive impact across three important areas – providing nutritious food for communities, income for local farmers and growing the local economy. The next steps are to strengthen links between local farmers and consumers, including supermarkets, restaurants, and retailers.
The project also aims to support local production of vegetable seeds and seedlings to reduce acquisition costs, encourage involvement of more young people for longer term development, and formalise contracts between producers and consumer markets. This will enable local farmers to grow their businesses into the future, creating the foundations for a sustainable agricultural sector in the region.