Mozambique annually imports a minimum of 360,000 tons of rice to cover the deficit between national consumption and production, the national director of Agriculture and Forestry said recently.
In 2014 Mozambique recorded in annual consumption of about 580,000 tons of rice, based on imports of 360,000 tons and local production of 223,000 tons of husked rice and 343,000 tons of rough rice.
Mahomed Valá, quoted by daily newspaper Notícias, said the low rice production was because of factors such as difficulty in accessing quality production processes, limited use of mechanical means and difficulties in accessing credit.
Valá also said that use of traditional technologies, low water management capacity for water management, weak soil levelling, adverse weather such as floods and drought are other factors that have affected Mozambican rice production.
Mozambique has 900,000 hectares of land for potential rice production, of which only about 310,000 are being used, and more than half of this potential is in Zambezia and Sofala provinces in the central region of the country.
About 90% of rice production is carried out by smallholders in rainfed conditions, with an average productivity of 1.0 to 1.2 tons per hectare in rainfed systems and 2.8 and 3.5 tons per hectare when the land is irrigated, noted Valá.
Last week, farmers and the managers of hydraulics company Hidráulica de Chókwè, in Gaza province, gathered in meeting to mark the end of the current rice production season, in which they harvested about 15,000 tons.
Of this amount just over 10,000 tons came from rice sector producers while the remaining 5,000 tons were produced by family farmers, through numerous small units in that area of Gaza province. (macauhub/MZ)