Mozambique + 2 more

Assessment of Seed Requirements In Southern African Countries Ravaged By Floods And Drought 1999/2000 Season


Background and Objectives

Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, were adversely affected by excessive rains during the 1999/2000 season. During the same season Mauritius and some provinces in Mozambique received inadequate rains. This study was therefore conducted to assess the seed requirements for each of these affected SADC countries, as well as to make inventories of possible sources of appropriate seed within the sub-region.


In Mozambique, the provinces affected by the floods were Maputo, Inhambane, Sofala, Gaza, Manica, Tete and Cabo Delgado. About 154 927 families were affected by the floods and 176 760 hectares of crops were lost. Parts of Cabo Delgado and Manica were affected by drought during the same season. The cropped area lost by the 31 117 families affected by drought amounted to 33 908 hectares.

As part of the emergency recovery in Mozambique, farmers received seeds for planting in the second cropping season (March/April to June), as well as handtools. A total of 213 099 kits containing maize, cowpea, bean, pumpkin and vegetable seed were approved for distribution, at a cost of US$4 980 918 (excluding transportation). All the seed that was distributed for planting during the second season was secured from SEMOC and Seed Company International.

It is recommended that families that have been classified by Instituto Nacional de Gestao de Calamidades as moderately affected, and strongly affected by floods and drought, be provided with seed kits during the main growing season (October/November onwards). These families will require about 1 414 tonnes of maize seed, 285 tonnes of beans, 285 tonnes of cowpeas and 10 tonnes each of tomatoes, onion and cabbage at a cost of US$11 427 200.00.

If every household affected by floods and drought is provided with 15kg of maize seed, then the maize that SEMOC (Mozambique's only seed company) expects to harvest in 2000, will not be adequate. (SEMOC expects to have 1 700 tonnes of maize seed). Seed will therefore have to be imported from Seed Company International (who have shares in SEMOC) to meet the shortfall. Seed Company plans to harvest 2 000 tonnes of Matuba maize seed and 1 100 tonnes of cowpea. Seed of beans, tomatoes, onion and cabbage could be sourced from South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In Botswana excessive rains destroyed crops that were meant for seed production (27 out of 47 seed growers that are contracted by the Seed Multiplication Unit were affected). The families affected by floods in Botswana will require 1 000 tonnes of sorghum seed, 500 tonnes of maize seed, 25 tonnes of pearl millet seed, 50 tonnes of cowpea or mungbean seed, 20 tonnes of groundnut seed and 10 tonnes of sunflower seed. Seed production in Botswana is the sole responsibility of the government of Botswana and there are no private seed production companies. Currently the seed stocks held by the Seed Multiplication Unit fall far short of Botswana's seed requirements. Seed will therefore have to be imported from South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe at a cost of approximately US$1 650 000.00.

About 13 000 households were affected by floods in Zambia, and the crop area lost due to floods was 1 515 hectares. Farmers will require maize, rice, sorghum, pearl millet and groundnut seed as well as banana suckers. Seed stocks that are available in Zambia are adequate to meet the needs of farmers affected by the floods. Seed could therefore be procured from seed companies and rural seed projects within Zambia, and this is expected to cost about US$246 000.00.

Mauritius was affected by drought and about 50% of the sugarcane crop and 35% of vegetable crops were affected. The seed reserves in Mauritius are adequate to meet the seed needs of affected farmers. However, it will be necessary to scale seed production efforts up during the next season, in order to restock the national seed reserve. The amount of money required to fund this effort is US$200 000-00.

In Zimbabwe the provinces affected by the floods were Manicaland, Masvingo, Midlands and Matabeleland South. Approximately 30 000 hectares of cropped areas were lost. It is recommended that seed packs containing maize/sorghum, groundnuts , cowpeas, and vegetable seed are provided to farmers. The amount of seed required by affected farmers is approximately 300 tonnes of maize, 150 tonnes of sorghum or millets, 150 tonnes of groundnuts, 150 tonnes of cowpeas and 3 tonnes each of rape, tomato and onion. Seed provision in Zimbabwe is expected to cost US$952 500.00. The seed that is required for farmers affected by floods in Zimbabwe is available within Zimbabwe from different seed companies.

Summary of recommendations

In view of the seriousness of the situation in the SADC countries affected by floods and drought, it is recommended that assistance is provided by distributing seeds to affected families. However, cognisant of the fact that local trading plays a vital role in servicing the communities and has also suffered due to the calamities it is advisable to involve the trader in the seed distribution scheme.

Varieties that have not been tested in the region should not be introduced into the affected countries as a consequence of the disaster. From the information sofar gathered this seems to be accepted policy by all concerned. Furthermore, SADC member states should be supported to enable them to set up national strategic seed reserves. In addition to the establishment of a seed network that can expeditiously respond to disaster situations. Such a network would be able to provide data on regional seed availability on a continuos basis.

Last but not least local germplasm might have been lost. An assessment whether this is the case and if so the possibility to reintroduce lost germplasm from genebanks or other sources should be considered.

By Bella Mpofu (Ph.D.)
May 2000

Commissioned by: SADC/GTZ
Project Promotion of Small Scale Seed
Production by Self Help Groups

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