SA farmers are lending a hand in Mozambique

Lindsay van Rensburg’s letter “SA farmers should lend a hand in Mozambique” refers. SA commercial farmers in Mozambique do help small-scale farmers.

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In many instances, it is mandated by the agreements reached with neighbouring subsistence farming communities, prior to an investment licence being issued and land leased to foreign farmers. This assistance is not visible from the main roads in Mozambique as land alongside main roads is mostly reserved for local small-scale farming communities to facilitate access to transport and markets.

However, the current situation in Mozambique is scary and is another Zimbabwe waiting to happen. There appears to be simmering resentment from small-scale local farming communities about the success of foreign commercial farmers, while local communities remain trapped in poverty.

It is in the interests of commercial farmers in Mozambique to do what they can to break the poverty cycle by assisting neighbouring small-scale farming communities with services such as land preparation, planting, improved livestock genetics, and animal health and hygiene, and write off the cost as social investment to ensure continuity of operations.

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I agree that Mozambican small-scale farmers are willing to work hard, but are prevented from progressing due to lack of access to appropriate technology. Although commercial farmers in Mozambique can assist in alleviating this sorry scenario, they should not carry the blame. The fault of its perpetuation lies with institutional incapacity.

This can be addressed by institutions such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). These organisations should work in partnership with Mozambican state agencies to develop small-scale farming communities through training, extension services, finance and access to appropriate technology.

These institutions should be applauded for the successful projects implemented thus far in Mozambique, but there is scope to increase the scope of projects.

Read SA farmers should lend a hand in Mozambique