Tonnes of coconuts stolen daily in Zambézia province, Mozambique

2 July 2009

Maputo, Mozambique, 2 July – The province of Zambézia in Mozambique see a loss of five to six tonnes of coconuts stolen every day from plantations and nurseries of agri-livestock companies, which would otherwise be sent to markets in Nampula and Cabo Delgado, according to Mozambican newspaper Notícias.

The paper added that the thieves, as well as stealing coconuts, are devastating the nurseries of the companies and the communities, which could affect the Government’s programme to re-vitalise the coconut sub-sector, funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation along the coastal region of the provinces of Zambézia and Nampula.

The director of agricultural group Madal, Rogério Henriques said during a meeting in Quelimane that aimed to establish joint inspection and control activities for commercialisation of coconuts, that his company was negatively affected by the thefts.

Henrique noted, at the time, that this year around 3,000 coconut saplings had been stolen from Maganja da Costa, which would affect the programme to propagate plants to replace coconut plantations that have been decimated by “lethal yellowing” disease.

Boror Agrícola said that at its plantations in the district of Pebane thefts totalled between 25,000 and 30,000 coconuts, which is around 6 tonnes per day, which reduced the companies production and processing capacity.

In Zambézia province a great number of people are dependent on coconut, which is one of the main bases of food and nutrition in the area. The family-run coconut sector occupies an area of 66,000 hectares of a total 110,000.

The Government in partnership with the Millennium Challenge Corporation has a plan to revitalise the coconut sub-sector, which includes setting up nurseries.

However, the nurseries are being vandalised by thieves, or the plants removed for sale in the city of Quelimane. (macauhub)