Despite Mozambique´s impressive economic growth rates over the past 20 years, chronic under-nutrition and food insecurity are still highly prevalent, especially in Sofala, ADA's priority region. Paradoxically, subsistence farmer families who are responsible for more than 90% of the food production in the country are among the most affected by malnutrition due to low levels of production and productivity and the small cultivation area with an average of only 1.4 hectares per farm.
Planting potatoes productively
This is why the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, provides equipment and training to "Extensionistas" like Isabel Tivana, who train and assist farmers to improve the production of their crops and their processing and marketing capacities.
Through the support of Isabel, the agricultural association "United Women of Maronde" in the district of Chibabava was able to increase their potato production, while implementing environmentally friendly, sustainable methods of cultivation - called "agricultural conservation" - at the same time.
"Isabel comes two times a week to teach us how much space we should leave between the plants and how we can conserve the moisture of the soil using hay", says Emma Jossias, the head of the Association.
Small irrigation systems - big impact
ADA also provides farmers with seeds and the construction of post-harvest facilities like silos. Furthermore, ADA facilitates the construction of small irrigation systems, which allowed the Association to increase their production and which also had an additional side effect:
"We suffered a lot of accidents and even some deaths due to crocodile attacks. Thanks to the irrigation system we don't have to go to the river anymore to fetch water for our fields," explains Emma Jossias. Emma appreciates the support and gives back to her community: she offers food to the poorest and takes in orphans.
Through the ADA project, over 4,000 producers in Sofala benefit from the construction of 80 post-harvest silos and 280 members of associations of producers can make use of eight newly built irrigation systems. In addition, 156 Extensionistas assisted over 95.000 producers, who now can provide technical knowledge to other farmers within their community, thus reducing the workload of the extension technicians, and amplifying the extension services even further!