The Mozambican government hopes that by 2020 the country will produce 80 per cent of the rice it consumes and import only 20 per cent and hence hopes to slash the rice import bill.

At present the country is importing about 350,000 tonnes of rice at a cost of 140 million US dollars per year.

Mahomed Vala, the national director of agricultural services, on Friday during press conference expressed their zeal to become self sufficient in rice productivity by 2020 and said that the country will reduce the import qauntity dramatically.

During a one day meeting of the Coordination Committee of the Projects to Improve rice productivity.,he said that the committee  is responsible for the Chokwe irrigation system in the southern province of Gaza (the largest irrigation system in the country), and the Maganja da Costa irrigation system in the central province of Zambezia.

These two projects are in their final phase and are being financed by the Japan and Vietnam.During this one day meeting they discussed about the achievements, impact and sustainability of the projects since implementation began in 2011.

He also said that the decrease in the rice productivity is due to

  • Rudimentary techniques
  • Obsolescent irrigation infrastructures.
  • Poor access to modern agricultural inputs

He also said that the country has almost about 900,000 hectares of land appropriate for rice cultivation, but currently only 230,000 are being exploited.

He on his behalf gave some suggestions to increase the rice productivity like

  • The use of appropriate technology, including improved seeds and other inputs
  •  Improving harvest and post-harvest operations.

Such improvements have allowed some small Mozambican producers to increase their yields fourfold or more – from 800 to 1,000 kilos per hectare too four tonnes per hectare

Also he said that in the coming  two years, the country will be processing 180,000 to 200,000 tonnes of rice a year, just in Chokwe and in the Lower Limpopo irrigation scheme in Gaza hence improving the capacity of the country’s rice processing industry.

In Chokwe, gains are expected from the use of a newly designed manual rice seeder to plant the crop. The seeder has been developed under the bilateral cooperation with Japan.

 In Maganja da Costa, under trilateral cooperation between Mozambique, Japan and Vietnam, a package of improved rice cultivation techniques has been disseminated among farmers, and a local association of irrigators has been trained to operate and maintain the irrigation installations.