Mozambican government reaffirms priority of ProSavana mega-program
The Mozambican government reaffirmed yesterday that the agricultural mega-program Prosavana was “a priority” among the means of converting subsistence agriculture into market production, and that it intended to increase cooperation with Japan, one of the project partners.
“The Government considers this project to be important and a priority in the cooperation agenda with Japan, for the impact it will have on the modernisation and development of the agricultural sector,” Minister of Transport and Communications Carlos Mesquita said at anniversary celebrations for the Emperor of Japan, Akihito, at the Japanese embassy in Maputo.
According to Mesquita, Prosavana aims to “contribute to improving food security and increasing farmers’ incomes and introducing new technologies that will speed the transition from subsistence farming to domestic and international market production”.
Marked by controversy since its birth, ProSavana was conceived by the governments of Mozambique, Brazil and Japan and has generated fears of land seizure among communities living in the area of the program and prompted protests by the inhabitants of the Nacala corridor and several non-governmental organisations that question the success of a similar experiment in Brazil.
Mesquita pointed to the Nacala corridor as “the main focus” of the cooperation under an agreement concluded in 2014, “with a view to giving a greater economic dynamism to the region and promoting the well-being of the people who live there”.
The Mozambican Minister spoke about the rehabilitation and expansion of the port of Nacala, and the improvement and construction and new roads between Nampula and Linchinga, in addition to the increase of electric power distribution in the region.
He also called on the Tokyo government to accelerate final investment decisions in relation to natural gas projects in the Rovuma basin in northern Mozambique, where Japan’s Mitsui corporation is participating with American firm Anadarko.
“I would like to see Japan engaged in reaching final investment decisions in the Rovuma basin, which will contribute to the increase of trade between the two countries and boost the development of Mozambique,” said Carlos Mesquita.
On Tuesday, the Mozambican government approved a series of legal instruments to accelerate natural gas production in the Rovuma basin, which is estimated to have one of the largest deposits in the world but still lacks final investment decisions by the consortia led by Anadarko and Italian ENI.
The energy sector was singled out by Japanese Ambassador Akira Mizutani as one of the areas where bilateral relations “have progressed consistently,” giving examples of electricity processing units in Nampula and Maputo as well as health and education programs and staff training.
Ambassador Mizutani also mentioned the political and military crisis in Mozambique and the of state company hidden debts scandal.
“There is a satisfaction that the will to change in Mozambique is beginning to move in the right direction, through the efforts of international mediators and the launching of the independent international audit,” the diplomat said, referring to the ongoing peace negotiations and the hiring of an external auditor to assess the real impact of the hidden loans which triggered the country’s current public debt crisis
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Nairobi in August on the sidelines of the Tokyo International Conference for the Development of Africa (TICAD), where they shared their intention to deepen relations between the two countries, at a time when Japan is already one of Mozambique’s main international partners.