MOZAMBIQUE – Italy has pledged approximately USD 4.4 million to support the “Improving the Inclusive and Sustainable Development of Agricultural Value Chains” (MAIS VALOR II) project in Mozambique.

This commitment, facilitated by the Italian Cooperation Agency, signifies a significant step towards enhancing agricultural activities, particularly in the coffee, fruit, and vegetable industries in the provinces of Manica and northern Cabo Delgado.

The MAIS VALOR II project builds upon its predecessor, MAIS VALOR I, which concentrated on coffee production and agro-processing on Ibo Island in Cabo Delgado.

The renewed focus aims to empower small and medium-sized enterprises while strengthening youth employment opportunities in these regions.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s vision of ‘cooperation between equals,’ discussed during the Italy-Africa summit in January, aligns with this investment.

The broader “Mattei Development Plan” for Africa, inclusive of the MAIS VALOR II project, emphasizes key sectors such as education, training, agriculture, health, water, and energy, with a substantial budget allocated for implementation.

This initiative holds the potential to contribute significantly to the economic and social stabilization of Cabo Delgado, a region grappling with challenges posed by attacks from Islamic extremists.

Italy’s ongoing commitment to fostering development and stability in Mozambique through sustainable agricultural growth is evident in this strategic investment.

Mozambique’s fresh produce sector plays a vital role in the country’s economy, providing income for over 70% of the population.

Accounting for 26% of the GDP in 2020, the agriculture sector, inclusive of fresh produce, witnessed a 4% production growth from 2020 to 2021.

Favorable weather conditions, restricted access to foreign foods due to lockdowns, and increased government support, including initiatives like the SUSTENTA program, contributed to this growth.

The SUSTENTA initiative, supported by a USD 500 million World Bank grant, aims to integrate rural households into sustainable agriculture and forest-based value chains, providing farmers with training, financing, and improved supporting services.

The program’s support resulted in an increase in crop production from 14 to 16 million tons in 2020-2021.

Smallholder farmers dominate the fresh produce sector, contributing significantly to overall agricultural production.

Growing urban and middle-class populations are driving demand for local agricultural produce, including bananas and tomatoes.

Despite having an estimated 36 million hectares of unused arable land and favorable agro-ecological conditions, Mozambique remains a net importer of food.

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