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Prosavana agreement signed in Tokyo

The Zimbabwean | 5 April 2013
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka (second from left) visits a ProSAVANA site. (Photo: JICA)

The master plan for the Nacala Development Corridor, which will be finalised later this year, will define the overall budget for the Programme of Triangular Cooperation for Developing Agriculture in the Tropical Savannahs of Mozambique (ProSavana).

ProSavana will be developed in the north of the country, mostly along the Nacala Development Corridor, to increase agricultural productivity, with a strong component of technology transfer.

It covers about 700,000 hectares, and is based on a project that Japan implemented in Brazil in the 1970s, which revolutionised agricultural production in an area now regarded as the most productive in Brazil.

On Wednesday a memorandum of understanding was signed in the Japanese capital city Tokyo at the end of a working visit by Mozambique’s Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco.

Speaking after signing the memorandum, Pacheco said “once we have the master plan we will know what the contribution of each of the parties in the project will be for the implementation of ProSavana”.

The document was also signed by the Deputy President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Tsuneo Kurokawa, and the Director of the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), Fernando de Abreu.

Pacheco told journalists that the agricultural extension component of the project has not yet advanced to the desired level, but that the conditions have been created to accelerate progress.

One of the ultimate goals of ProSavana is to equip farmers with the ability to practice commercial agriculture, producing goods for the internal market and for export. Agricultural extension is the means to ensure that the transfer of new production technologies reaches the thousands of farmers still involved in subsistence agriculture in the Nacala Corridor.

This year, according to the Minister, agricultural extension will be driven forward by new staff who will join other specialists in the public and private sector. The first big impact of this injection will be during the forthcoming 2013/2014 agricultural campaign.

The trilateral commission of Mozambique, Japan and Brazil also agreed that the agricultural research mechanisms looking at the types of crop cultures to be used have been established locally and are progressing vigorously. Technicians are currently testing various varieties of maize, beans, soya and cotton.

Pacheco stressed that what is now important is to consolidate the partnership between the three countries, especially strengthening dialogue to ensure the participation of all the actors in the value chain in agricultural production in the Nacala Corridor.

On Wednesday Minister Pacheco visited the company Fuji Oil which is involved in the production and processing of Soya. Fuji Oil has indicated that it is interested in investing in Mozambique.

He also visited the Japan International Research Centre for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

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Japan promises to continue support for Mozambique

The Zimbabwean | 5 April 2013

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is to continue supporting Mozambique in its anti-poverty strategy through funding programmes such as the Programme of Triangular Cooperation for Developing Agriculture in the Tropical Savannahs of Mozambique (ProSavana).

In an interview with AIM, JICA’s Assistant Director for Southern Africa, Sakaguchi Kota, explained that “this year we are going to start a new project of technical assistance to ProSavana costing 12 million US dollars. This amount is in addition to the 13 million dollars already set aside for ProSavana, making a total of 25 million dollars”.

Sakaguchi Kota explained that ProSavana is a long term project for the transformation of subsistence and commercial agriculture in the Nacala Corridor in the north of Mozambique. He stressed that future activities are still under discussion, with help for Mozambique taking the form of technical assistance, loans and non-refundable donations.

Kota was speaking on the margins of an international conference on investing in Mozambique which had over two hundred participants.

The key speaker at the conference was Mozambique’s Agriculture Minister, Jose Pacheco, who is in Japan with a high level delegation which includes the governors of the three provinces covered by ProSavana, namely Niassa, Nampula and Zambezia.

Also in the Mozambican delegation are the coordinator of ProSavana, Calisto Bias, representatives of the Niassa Farmers Union and Kabir Ibrahimo from the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA).

Former Minister of Agriculture Helder Muteia also attended the event in his capacity as representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Portugal and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP).

In his speech to the conference, Jose Pacheco reiterated that Mozambique offers comparative advantages in agricultural production. He stressed that agriculture is the pillar of the country’s development strategy.

In terms of potential for development, Pacheco referred to the fact that the country has 36 million hectares of arable land of which only ten per cent is used.

Pacheco added that about 3.3 million hectares of land can be irrigated of which only 14 per cent is developed.

He said that developing this potential has been a major challenge to the government, which is why in May 2011 it approved the Agricultural Sector Strategic Development Plan (PEDSA) which incorporates ProSavana.

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