Mozambique’s National Agricultural Mechanisation Programme (PNMA) will benefit 35,000 people through the Agricultural Service Centres (CSAs) spread across the country, according to Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco.
Speaking recently at the opening session of the Second National Meeting on Agricultural Mechanisation, in the central city of Quelimane, Pacheco stressed that the vision of the CSAs is to provide excellence at all levels – in attending to the needs of producers, in making available services for preparing the land, for sowing, for harvesting and for transport and storage. The CSAs also sell inputs and provide technical assistance.
The CSAs are intended to bring these agricultural services closer to farmers. The meeting, held under the motto “Make Mechanisation a Factor that Stimulates Increased Production and Productivity”, will discuss strategies for greater participation of the private sector in running the CSAs.
The government’s Agricultural Development Fund (FDA) has set up 73 CSAs, covering all provinces in the country. By the end of the year a further 18 will be installed, bringing the total to 91. Each CSA is equipped with four to six tractors, and with agricultural tools for ploughing, harrowing, fertilizing, sowing and harvesting.
This equipment forms part of the “More Food Programme”, valued at US$ 97 million, covering a total of 513 tractors and more than 2,000 agricultural implements. The intention of the programme is to raise productivity and transform subsistence into commercial agriculture.
Pacheco pointed to the serious under-use of the country’s agricultural potential. The country has 36 million hectares of arable land, but only 1% of this land is currently under cultivation. Of the arable land, 3.3 million hectares has the potential for irrigation, but only 14% of this amount is being correctly exploited. He stressed the need for efficient use and management of water, and to improve the early warning and risk management systems.