Mozambique government creates credit line for tomato growers

7 June 2006

Maputo, Mozambique, 07 June – The government of Mozambique has agreed with local bank, Banco Comercial e de Investimentos to set up a credit line of US$261,440 to help re-launch vegetable production, particularly tomatoes, the Minister of Agriculture said in Maputo Tuesday.

Tomas Mandlate said in a press conference that, given the difficulties producers faced in obtaining credit from retail banks, the government had felt it necessary to intervene and take on some of the risks for farmers to have access to the required funds.

The government decision follows the outbreak of a blight affecting tomato production, particularly in the district of Chokwe, in Gaza province.

The blight killed off the entire crop of many farmers while others had losses of between 70 and 90 percent of their respective harvest.

Mandlate said that the affected farmers would be attributed a maximum of US$18,674, funds that could be paid back over three years at 10 percent interest.

The national director for Agricultural Services, Boaventura Nuvunga, said that the government had also adopted a set of measures to prevent the proliferation of the disease, namely prohibiting transport of tomato seed from affected to non-affected areas.

The government also order affected plantations to be destroyed in order to control the blight although it had already passed from Chokwe district to that of Moamba, in Maputo province, where most of the country’s tomato production is located. (macauhub)