A few decades ago Mozambique was not a very attractive country to invest in. The civil war and the political instability are the main reasons for this. In the last decade the situation has changed and Mozambique is becoming an interesting area to invest in. The elections are democratic nowadays and this has led to political stability and support from other countries. As a consequence the country is now enjoying a substantial, above average, economic growth.
Development of the agribusiness in Mozambique
About 36 million hectares of land are suitable for agriculture of which only 10-12% is currently under cultivation, 97% by smallholder farmers. Around 81% of the labor force works in agriculture, which contributes 28,8% to the total GDP, whereas the GDP per capita is around $1000 (CIA, 2011).
The country is among the poorest countries in the world, as Worldbank (2013) place it on the 170th place with only ten countries poorer. However, it is one of the fastest growing economies in sub- Saharan Africa, with a yearly GDP growth of around 8% (CIA, 2013).
Maize, rice and cassava are the most important food crops in Mozambique. The main cash crops are tobacco, cotton and cashew nuts. The climate of Mozambique is typically tropical, with a wet season during summer, between November and March, and a dry season from April to October. The average temperature is 23°C. There is little variation of temperatures between the seasons, depending however on height.
The soils in the northern and central part of Mozambique are very fertile and, in combination with the sufficient rainfall, have the potential to substantially increase current yields when good technology and farm management is applied. The diverse soils, latitude differences, coast proximity and climate variability offers Mozambique a wide range of production opportunities. Despite this potential, large amounts of soya, wheat, rice and feed products are imported, mostly from South-Africa, every year. In the past several years, the value of imports outweighed the value of exports by a 5 to 1 ratio. This obliges Mozambique to depend heavily on foreign aid and loans, while a large part of these imported products can be produced domestically.
The previous prime minister of Mozambique, Mr. Vaquina, pointed out that “we face challenges in food security and nutrition, and strengthening our capacity to increase agricultural production and productivity is crucial so that we do not have any hungry mothers and children. It is vital that we can transform our subsistence farmers into commercial farmers”.
Location - Nacala Corridor
The Moringa project is located in the corridor between Nacala (C), Nampula (A), Ilha (B) and Monapo (D).
The reason to choose this location is that the region is developing very fast. It has the biggest density of population of Mozambique and also the biggest growth percentage. A large number of companies are building new business in this area. The Brazilian mining company VALE is heavily investing in this region. In Nacala a deep-sea port and an international airport are under construction. Also the railway from Moatize in the province of Tete to the port in Nacala is being doubled. VALE is focusing on phosphorus and coalmining. Matanuska, previously Chiquita, has set up a large banana plantation.
Next to that there is the Pro Savanna project. A cooperation between the governments from Brazil, Japan and Mozambique to boost the agribusiness in northern Mozambique and more particular in the region between Nacala and Malawi. A lot of investment and knowledge is being brought into this region.