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Abdul César Mussuale

MOZAMBIQUE - Agriculture

Branch Out

Director, Agriculture Promotion Center (CEPAGRI)

Bio

Abdul César Mussuale is a native of Zambezia Province. He holds a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Aberdeen in the UK. He has served as Director of CEPAGRI since 2012. From 1984 to 2006, he worked in the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture for Zambezia Province. He then went on to work as Chief Inspector of Zambezia Province for two years before becoming head of the Massangulo Forestry Company. He returned to the public sector in 2012 when heading up CEPAGRI.

What is the role of the Agriculture Promotion Center (CEPAGRI)? CEPAGRI is an institution under the purview of the Ministry of Agriculture that is designed to promote investment in agribusiness. […]

What is the role of the Agriculture Promotion Center (CEPAGRI)?

CEPAGRI is an institution under the purview of the Ministry of Agriculture that is designed to promote investment in agribusiness. Our main role is to promote the agrarian and agro-industrial sectors, interact with the private sector, and support private investors in order to maximise their contribution in the country’s socio-economic development. Mozambique is a very large country, and its current agricultural strategy focuses on the six development corridors, each of which plays a specific role. CEPAGRI, in coordination with Monitor Deloitte, has identified 12 key value chains based on the private sector and government interest that are relevant and that require promotion be it for national or foreigner investors. We offer the appropriate fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, guarantees, and protection of their investments. Our goal, then, is to create links between the government and the private sector. We have an agriculture master plan with the following four objectives: (i) increase production and productivity, (ii) boost infrastructure to improve access to the market, (iii) encourage the sustainable use of natural resources, and (iv) strengthen the use of agricultural institutions. Mozambique should be able to meet the needs of all of its people through local production.

What are the main challenges for Mozambique’s agricultural sector right now?

The largest agricultural challenge for Mozambique is to increase agriculture productivity and develop the agro-processing industry. Much of our agricultural production, cereals specially, is sent to other neighboring countries because we lack the capacity to process and add value locally. For instance, Malawi receives much of our production because it has the capacity to process corn into flour. Mozambique has just approved a plan for agribusiness, wherein one recommendation is to increase agro-processing and mechanization, since to increase productivity and yield farmers need to mechanize. Our smallholder farmers are using hoes when they should be using tractors. The right motivation and incentives exist to boost mechanized production through the creation of agrarian services centres. Farmers must be focused on production, and we will handle the bureaucratic and logistics side through these service centres. We also have internal challenges regarding storage. In Zimpeto, we helped a wholesalers’ market to obtain cold storage facilities for perishable crops. If the produce remains unsold, it spoils, and for this reason we mobilized resources to create a solution.

What would you say are the main strategic crops for Mozambique?

We have 12 strategic crops, including rice, which is a key staple. We have the potential to produce all of our own rice, but right now we import 60% of our consumption. We have a unit plant in Xai-Xai, but if we had three—one in the south, another in the central region, and one in the north—the country would be balanced in terms of production. We also have soy, which is strategic in terms of aviculture feeding; chicken is also a key staple of domestic cuisine consumed by lower-income people in large cities and industrial centres. With our soy and corn, we are able to produce aviculture food indefinitely. Meanwhile, bananas are also being grown on a large scale and exported to Europe from Nampula; we also produce and export sugar. Cotton, too, is part of the export basket and offers much potential as industrial facilities enable local processing. Indeed, one of our goals is to produce medical cotton. Mozambique still imports a considerable volume of poultry from Brazil and South Africa. The government’s main goal is to meet demand with domestically produced poultry; however, as long as we cannot afford to achieve that goal, we cannot dismiss imports. We import a significant volume of meat from South Africa and Botswana, although we have the potential to produce it here as well.

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