Mozambique has potential to produce potato seed

8 April 2009

Maputo, Mozambique, 8 April – Mozambique could put an end to the import of potato seed and produce it locally and needs only to make use of the agricultural and ecological conditions that some of its regions offer, said the director of the Mozambican Agrarian Research Institute (IIAM).

According to Mozambican newspaper Notícias, Calisto Bias said that the mountainous region of Socera, in Manica province, is the one that currently has the best specific conditions and that, if it were used, the country would no longer need to import the seed. Potato cropping is currently being re-launched in Mozambique.

The 2008-2011 plan for food production, developed by the Ministry of Agriculture, projects that cultivating potatoes (as opposed to sweet potato which is more common in Mozambique), the planting of which was re-launched in 2005, will, by 2011 produce some 72,000 tonnes, which is enough to cover 83 percent of the needs of the country’s urban and suburban areas.

For that purpose planting areas will be around 1,800 hectares in the 2008/09 season, and 2,500 and 4,000 hectares in the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons, respectively.

During the three abovementioned seasons investment is expected to total some 955 million meticals, of which around 73 million will be earmarked for research programmes, 9 million for seed imports, 845 million for subsidised loans for producers and around 26 million meticals for fertilisers and pesticides.

Current Mozambican production of potatoes is around 81,000 tonnes per season, which represents a deficit of 174,000 tonnes, given that the country consumes 256,000 tonnes. (macauhub)