WHERE WE WORK
Start Year: 1995
End Year: 2005
Country Program Director/Coordinator: Dr Wayne Haag (1995-2005)
History and Primary Activities:
Mozambique achieved peace in 1992, after 14 years of civil war. SAA first visited Mozambique in 1993 to explore the possibility of establishing a country project. After protracted negotiations of nearly two years, SG 2000-Mozambique was established with the government of Mozambique in 1995. Wayne Haag, fluent in Portuguese, was appointed as SG 2000-Mozambique country director.
The SG 2000 Program was assigned to work with the extension department of the Rural Extension Directorate (DNER). SG 2000-Mozambique staff also worked closely with researchers from the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA), especially in maize and rice. Rehabilitating the agricultural sector was an urgent priority in Mozambique. Years of civil war and famine had displaced an untold number of smallholder farmers, and over the years the countryside had been devastated. The government set out to rebuild agriculture. There were many combatants to re-settle on the land. Crop yields were among the lowest in Africa and many people lived on the edge of hunger. A National Agricultural Development Plan (PROAGRI) was launched in 1996, supported by a large consortium of donors.
A rice demonstration plot in Matutuine, Maputo Province
Extension Plots – A field demonstration program to introduce improved food crop technologies to smallholder farmers was at the core of the SG 2000 Program. Over 10 years, farmers grew 9,000 extension plots. Of this total, maize accounted for 70%, rice 15%, field beans 5%, cassava 5%, and various other crops the remainder. In the first year, 1996-97, 40 half-hectare maize Extension Plots (EPs) were planted in two provinces of the country. The average yield was about 4.3 t/ha. The next season, 310 maize EPs and 21 rice EPs were established in four provinces. Yields of maize ranged from 2.5-3.0 t/ha, compared to 1.0 t/ha using traditional production methods; rice yields averaged 2.6 t/ha, compared to 0.75 t/ha with conventional methods.
By 1999, SG 2000-Mozambique and its partner organizations were working with nine crops during the 1999/2000 season – the most popular being maize and rice. Sunflower, sesame and pigeon pea were added to the program, at the request of several NGO partners who were having success in promoting and marketing these crops. Farmers grew about 2,000 EPs.
Conservation tillage technology and herbicide use were also introduced to maize farmers, and no-till farming to rice farmers. Conservation tillage technology and herbicide use has been introduced to 500 maize farmers in Manica, Nampula, and Cabo Delgado, in partnership with Monsanto, Agri-Focus, DNER, and INIA. No-till farming was also introduced to rice farmers in Gaza and Sofala provinces.
SG 2000-Mozambique progressively shifted its extension work towards working with farmers associations, rather than with individual farmers. By the closing of the Mozambique Program, two-thirds of the demonstration plots supported by credit were with farmers in organized associations.
Input distribution network – At the beginning of the field demonstration program, DNER/SG 2000-Mozambique moved quickly to establish a village input agro-dealers development program to supply seed, fertilizer, and crop protection chemicals to smallholder farmers.
Efforts to develop a network of input distributors to serve farmers were carried out in partnership with other NGOs, such as the Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs. SG 2000 cooperated with the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) to promote the growth of a private fertilizer sector. Small agro-retailers were trained in input storage and handling and business management, and inputs for the extension demonstration program were delivered through them.
Advent of QPM in Mozambique – SG 2000-Mozambique tested quality protein maize (QPM) varieties for local release. Obatanpa, the popular QPM variety from Ghana, was released by the national maize program for commercial use, under the local name of Sussuma. A national multi-location yield trial, grown by INIA, recorded an average 4.6 t/ha yield performance for Sussuma, compared to 4.2-4.4 t/ha for the three most popular improved varieties grown at the time.
Post-harvest/Agroprocessing – An on-farm post-harvest program was begun in 1998, with all maize demonstration farmers receiving post-harvest kits. In total, about 3,000 improved structures and drying patios were constructed. A working group on agro-processing was formed, involving DNER, INIA, Ministry of Health, and private manufacturers. DNER and SAA/IITA collaborated in a training program for local agro-processing manufacturers for equipment to make cassava flour, both fermented and non-fermented types.
Phase Two priorities – Phase One of the Program came to an end in 2002. SG 2000-Mozambique Phase Two priorities were to:
In Phase Two, conservation tillage will be incorporated into the standard package for maize and rice demonstrations.
- Attain higher yields in the demonstration plots;
- To continue encouraging commercial financial institutions and input suppliers to extend input credit to farmers who adopted recommended technologies;
- Incorporate conservation tillage technology into the standard package for maize and rice demonstrations and widely disseminate this technology to extension workers and farmers; and
- Collaborate with INIA to determine the response of important crops (maize and rice) to different fertilizer applications and materials.
In 2005, SG 2000-Mozambique, after 11 years of field operations, came to a conclusion, although support from SAA’s regional programs in QPM, and agro-processing continued.
Continuing SAA regional support – In 2005, the government began the second phase of its agricultural development program, PROAGRI II. The focus over the next five years was to be on applied research, improved marketing of agricultural commodities, improved financial services to farmers and agro-service providers, and a more investment-friendly and enabling agribusiness environment.
A farmer in Gondo, Sofala Province, applies glyphosate to prepare a rice field for planting. The use of new technologies empowers women farmers.
Achieving rice self-sufficiency in rice was a priority. National production dropped nearly by half between its peak in 2000 and 2005. Rice imports by 2009 were 335,000 tons. The strategy was to improve the value chain in rice production and processing, including input supply and credit, improved farm production practices, and marketing and milling. A Consultative Group on Rice (CGR) was established as part of this initiative. It was made up of producers, millers, traders, input suppliers, government agencies and institutes, international centers, and NGOs. The CGR focused on improving the efficiency of production and creating a more competitive rice industry. It stressed giving farmers access to inputs, credit, and technical assistance, and establishing critical linkages with national and regional markets. The former SG 2000-Mozambique national coordinator, Carlos Zandamela, with 20 years of research and production experience in rice, was appointed to the executive secretariat of CGR. The SAA regional rice program operating at the time supported this initiative after the SG 2000 Mozambique Program ended in 2005. MOUs were signed with the African Rice Center (WARDA) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to guide SAA collaboration in the future.
The SAA QPM regional program continued to work with maize breeders at the National Agricultural Institute (INIA) to develop new varieties and hybrids, and to strengthen seed production. A special emphasis was placed on sustaining an effective QPM seed quality laboratory to ensure that protein quality was maintained in breeding materials and in seed production.
At the end 2009, Dr Wayne Haag retired (he had been based in Mozambique) which greatly curtailed SAA regional activities in the country. Furthermore, SAA implemented a new organizational plan in which the regional rice and QPM programs were folded into in a Crop Productivity (Theme 1) program. Since 2010, only sporadic SAA involvement with Mozambican institutions has continued.
Over the SG 2000-Mozambique period of operation, maize, rice, cassava and pulse (beans, pigeon peas) production increased in erratic ways, largely determined by how much rainfall was received. In general, yield and production gains were strongest between 1995 and 2003. Maize production increased by 50% and rice and cassava by 60%. There was some improvement in yields, but in general, they remained very low by African standards, as relatively little fertilizer was used. Total rice production remained relatively stable at about 120,000 tons. Fertilizer consumption increased from 5,000 nutrient tons in 1995 to 21,000 tons in 2005. Seed production was also strengthened. The QPM variety Sussuma was being grown on 75,000 hectares by 2008.