Mozambican coconut palm program supported by United States

10 September 2007

Maputo, 10 Sept – The program to resume coconut production by restoring palm groves in the Mozambican provinces of Zambezia and Nampula is beginning, with US$17.4 million budgeted for this year, the Maputo-based newspaper Notícias has reported.

The daily quoted the Mozambican minister for planning and development, Aiuba Cuereneia, who said last Thursday in Quelimane that restoring palm groves was one of the areas the government will focus on, due to the sector’s important role in strengthening the economy of communities.

Data gathered by the newspaper indicate that 160,000 coconut palms will be destroyed and replaced by other resistant varieties in the two provinces, affected by lethal palm yellowing disease.

Financed by the Millenium Challenge Corporation, an institution of the United States government, the program involves a number of actions, specifically the provision of information on the disease, control of the transmission vector, epidemological analysis, research on disease-resistant varieties, the introduction and promotion of alternative income crops and support for agro-processing and market connections.

Zambezia province loses more than US$3 million per year due to the disease, which causes lower quality, early harvesting and other problems affecting the processing and commercialisation chain.

Efforts to save the palm groves require the implementation of an emergency program and specifically the creation of a coconut production unit whose main tasks will be to bring area production in line with international standards, and guarantee the creation and legal recognition of associations of coconut producers and industries. (macauhub)