Coconut palms in Zambézia, Mozambique affected by blight

17 May 2011

Maputo, Mozambique, 17 May – Mozambique’s Zambézia province has losses of over US$4 million in exports each year due to lethal yellowing disease in its coconut palms, which are a cash crop for many families in the province, according to Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias.

Copra – the dried meat of the coconut – plays an extremely important role in the food security of the population of Zambézia province, where 65 percent of Mozambique’s coconut production is based. Export volumes are currently quite low and the quality of the product has been affected by factors such as blights.

So far the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Moçambique, a programme of the United States federal government, has provided 136,000 coconut saplings to four districts of the province whilst over 121,000 trees were cut down in an effort to contain the disease.

The newspaper said that when copra production and sales where at their height, several social retail outlets provided basic services such a food product supplies.

Following the weakening of the copra sector many people have lost their jobs, families have lost income from copra sales and food security has become a concern for local residents. (macauhub)