Food crisis 'opportunity'

MAPUTO - The Mozambican government believes the prevailing international food crisis, while posing a short-term threat to the country, offers an opportunity for increased domestic agricultural production and the stimulation of the agro-industry.

MAPUTO - The Mozambican government believes the prevailing international food crisis, while posing a short-term threat to the country, offers an opportunity for increased domestic agricultural production and the stimulation of the agro-industry.

Agriculture Minister Soares Nhaca said yesterday the government was designing a series of strategic actions to eliminate deficits in the production of basic foodstuffs, leading to the export of surplus once the domestic market was satisfied.

These, he said, were medium-term measures with a time horizon of three years.

Some short-term measures are also under consideration to improve access to productive land, create food reserves and improve the transportation of food. The general complaint has been that grain rots in peasant barns due to lack of customers and therefore taking it to potential buyers would be the ideal situation.

The government also intends to speed up rehabilitation of the local roads linking productive areas with markets, and to increase small farmers' access to the agricultural inputs.

The government admits that the country faces a serious deficit in food stocks.

Almost all the wheat consumed in Mozambique is imported, and this year the country will have to source about 470000tons of the crop.

The rice deficit is 316000 tons, and the country needs to import 16000 tons of potatoes.

The shortfall for vegetable oil is 5400 tons, fish 54000 tons and chicken 24 000 tons. - CAJ News

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