USAID supports return of rice production to Chokwé, Mozambique

20 November 2006

Maputo, Mozambique, 20 Nov – The Mozambican district of Chokwé is to once again become Mozambique’s largest area of rice production with a financial support program for producers launched in September by the government, daily newspaper, Notícias reported Saturday.

Underwritten by a US$2 million loan from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the program is based on granting loans to farmers by the financial institutions involved in the program, Millenium Bim and BCI Fomento.

It is estimated that around 35 to 40 percent of the 5,000 hectares earmarked for the program have been ploughed and that 25 percent of those have already been sown.

Of the 41 farmers that applied for the program, only a few were accepted after negotiations between the government, USAID and two banks.

Some of the farmers had unpaid loans, others had two or more loans being paid off and some could offer no guarantees for repayment.

The farmers are concerned about delays in being paid the loans they have been promised as part of the program, because rain has already begun to fall, making it impossible to prepare the fields for sowing the rice. (macauhub)