Mozambique’s Successful Cassava Project Recognized by UN, Boosting Crop Production

Maputo, Mozambique – A project in Mozambique that significantly increased cassava production by 36 percent and improved food security has been highlighted as a success story in a recent report released by the United Nations (UN). The report, titled “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022: Repurposing Food and Agricultural Policies to Make Healthy Diets More Affordable,” emphasizes the importance of climate adaptation practices and their impact on rural small-scale producers.

The report, produced by various UN agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP), reveals that the number of people affected by hunger worldwide increased by 150 million during the Covid-19 pandemic, reaching approximately 828 million people and continuing to rise.

Highlighting the threat that climate change poses to small-scale producers, particularly vulnerable communities, the report stresses the need for climate adaptation practices to address the challenges faced by the agricultural sector. Climate adaptation involves implementing changes in processes, practices, and structures to mitigate potential damages or take advantage of opportunities associated with climate change.

The report emphasizes that investments in climate adaptation solutions should prioritize the needs of small-scale producers and micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) along food supply chains. By focusing on adaptation and resilience-building, these interventions can ensure the affordability of healthy diets and enhance the inclusiveness of agrifood systems. However, the report notes that global climate finance is still inadequate in reaching small-scale producers, with only about 1.7 percent of global climate finance benefiting them.

In Mozambique, the report showcases the success of the Pro-Poor Value Chain Development in the Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL) project. This initiative aimed to promote sustainable production practices of cassava, meat, and horticulture while investing in inclusive agribusiness value chains and farmers’ organizations. Through the project’s implementation, cassava productivity increased by 36 percent, leading to a 4 percent rise in the number of meals consumed. The project also enhanced resilience by diversifying incomes, resulting in a 15 percent increase in the number of beneficiaries’ income sources.

The PROSUL project, launched in 2012 with an initial value of €30 million, covers 19 selected districts in Gaza, Inhambane, and Maputo provinces. Its main objective is to sustainably increase the income of farmers engaged in irrigated vegetable production, cassava cultivation, and livestock farming, including cattle, goats, and sheep.

While hunger continues to affect millions of people worldwide, regional disparities persist. According to the report, in 2021, hunger affected 278 million people in Africa, 425 million in Asia, and 56.5 million in Latin America and the Caribbean. The report highlights the importance of addressing food insecurity and malnutrition as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030) and warns of the challenges posed by conflicts, disruptions in global grain supplies, and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events.

Mozambique’s successful cassava project demonstrates the potential of targeted interventions to improve agricultural productivity, enhance food security, and uplift the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. The UN report emphasizes the need for continued efforts to combat hunger, achieve food security, and create sustainable and inclusive agrifood systems.