Mozambique: Wheat imports to fall by 20 pct within three years

23 December 2008

Maputo, Mozambique, 23 Dec – Wheat imports into Mozambique may fall by around 20 percent over the next three years, as a result of the government’s decision to boost production of the crop over an area of 11,500 hectares in the 2008/2009 harvest, which begins in March of 2009, Mozambican newspaper Notícias reported.

Mozambique’s Agriculture Minister, Soares Nhaca said that the governments of Mozambique and Zimbabwe were due to sign a memorandum to ensure that producers received around 1,000 tonnes of “nduna” wheat seed.

As well as ensuring the supply of the seed, the authorities have decided to bring together all those involved in the wheat chain, namely the areas of research, technical assistance to producers, sale and processing.

Mozambique produces around 3,000 tonnes of wheat each year and needs to import around 469,000 tonnes of the cereal to meet its domestic needs, which are calculated at 472,000 tonnes in total.

The government considers the 2008/2009 harvest as the turning point for the grain deficit that Mozambique sees each year.

Wheat is currently produced in the regiuons of Xai-Xai and Chókwè, in the south, Sussundenga, Manica and Tsangano, in central Mozambique, and Matama and Lichinga, in the north, but surveys have shown that it would be possible also to produce wheat in Chemba and Beira, in Sofala province, Muirua, in Quelimane, in Zambézia, Montepuez, in Cabo Delgado and Matutuíne, in Maputo.(macahub)