Some $13 million urgently needed to help Mozambique's farmers rebuild homes and start planting

Report
from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Published on 27 Mar 2000
Press Release 00/20
Rome, 27 March -- Reconstruction of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in Mozambique will require at least $13 million for the next six months to address the needs of rural people returning to their villages while flood waters are receding, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today in a new appeal. The FAO appeal reflects the better understanding of the agriculture-related damage in Mozambique since the floods have started to recede.

"There are more than 120,000 farmers and their families in desperate need of assistance in the southern and central provinces of Mozambique," said Anne M. Bauer, Chief of FAO's Special Relief Operations Service. "They need emergency support so they can rebuild their homes and fields to start planting immediately and prepare for the main agricultural season, which begins next September."

Roads, irrigation systems, and farm equipment were severely damaged by the recent flooding, the worst in 40 years. Many farm animals were drowned and animal disease control facilities were destroyed, Ms. Bauer said. Almost 140,000 hectares of crops such as maize, beans, rice, sweet potatoes, groundnuts (peanuts) and vegetables have been destroyed, or seriously affected. Food and seed stocks were also seriously damaged and in many cases washed away. Major irrigation systems have been destroyed.

FAO estimates that 350,000 cattle, goats and sheep, between 70-80 percent of the livestock in the affected areas, have died or have been seriously injured. The threat of animal diseases could increase, FAO warned.

Many major markets and local food supply systems have been completely disrupted and agro-industry and food-processing activities have been halted.

Almost 6,000 small-scale fishers have lost 50 percent of their boats, fishing nets and fishing gear.

Emergency assistance for the agricultural sector will include seed packs and basic tools, FAO said. Providing vegetable seeds could improve the nutritional situation of the flood-stricken households. Veterinary drugs will need to be supplied and diagnostic facilities rehabilitated.

Emergency activities will also support small-scale fishers, helping restore their main source of food. Marketing infrastructure will need to be rebuilt as quickly as possible to help revive the rural economy.

The FAO appeal is part of the United Nations Inter-Agency Appeal launched together with the government of Mozambique. FAO previously appealed for $2.5 million.

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For more information please contact the FAO webpage http://www.fao.org/reliefoperations/ or Erwin Northoff, Media Officer, 0039-06-5705 3105, e-mail: Erwin.Northoff@FAO.Org

For donations please call the FAO hotline 0039-06-5705 6300.