The inauguration of the Chokué Agri-Industrial Complex, developed with funding from China, opens up new horizons for agricultural production in Gaza province, southern Mozambique, which now has another unit for rice processing and product storage.
Launched in the first half of 2013, the factory was officially opened on Monday by the President of Mozambique, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, who sent a message of thanks to the Chinese authorities for their support for the project.
Through the Export-Import Bank (Exim) of China, the government of Mozambique received a subsidised loan of US$60 million for construction of the factory, which is considered strategic for the development of agricultural capacity of the inner region of Chokué, where the country’s largest irrigation system is located.
Currently managed by state company Hydráulica do Chokué (HICEP), the irrigation system was created during the colonial era and has in recent years undergone repairs, which led to an increase in rice production, the crop that takes up most of the land along the channels, whose irrigation capacity exceeds 30,000 hectares.
The Chokué Agri-Industrial Complex (CAIC) was designed taking into account the needs of rice processing, now guaranteeing a capacity of at least 60,000 tons of rice per year, which will considerably shorten the distance previously covered by producers as the nearest unit, in Xai-Xai, owned by Chinese project Wambao Agriculture, is 130 kilometres away.
However, in addition to rice, the factory will also process tomato and cashew nuts. This year alone it is expected to 1,200 tons of tomatoes and 480 tons of cashews and the complex also has a storage area for 30,000 tons of vegetables.
Another important aspect of the project was the installation of cooling systems with a capacity to store 15,000 tons, which is expected to extend the shelf-life of vegetables, thus improving the bargaining power of local producers.
The complex, whose shareholder structure includes state stake holding management company Igepe, with 70 percent, the Limpopo Valley Agricultural Company (Saval), with 10 percent and HICEP (20 percent), is expected to employ around 200 workers.
With a view to transforming Gaza province into “Mozambique’s grain store” local authorities have been promoting contacts between farmers from the Chokué region and Wambao Agriculture, with state irrigation company RBL, which manages the second irrigation system in Gaza province, as intermediary.
In this second irrigation area Wambao Agriculture has an investment project valued at US$250 million, which is primarily designed for production of rice, and one of Wambao’s commitments is to transfer knowledge and technology to Mozambican farmers. (macauhub/CN/MZ)