Mozambique: An oasis in the desert of food insecurity

from World Vision
Published on 24 Sep 2004
It's a little off the beaten track, but a small garden in World Vision's Muecate Area Development Program in northern Mozambique holds the community's hopes for food security.

Erratic rainfall, infertile soil and a virus that has decimated the cassava crop means thounsands of people in Muecate are now threatened with food shortages.

However, farmers from the project are working together to find places where they can grow what cannot be grown anywhere else.

"This is where we're able to produce the food we need to eat and to sell for our survival," said Deolinda, one of a few women in the once male dominated local farmers association.

"We start by getting together to identify better, more fertile land, which often is by the riverside," said World Vision's Helena Neves. Once that's done, they get together to work out the best way to maximise production.

Helena said the biggest challenge is persuading communities to change their farming as well as eating habits.

"They're coming to realize that whilst everything is being done to salvage their basic food - cassava - namely by trying varieties which may be resistant to the virus that has been destroying this crop, it's equally important to ensure there is alternative food for consumption," she said.

Parts of southern Africa are facing chronic food insecurity, due to a number of complex factors such as political insecurity, HIV/AIDS and drought. In responding to this crisis, World Vision is working with communities to improve agricultural techniques, increasing farmers' yields and improving their livelihood. These interventions are also targeting those most vulnerable to food insecurity, such as child-headed households, one-parent households, or households where a person is chronically ill.

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