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News 254 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Acute grain shortage for Mozambique

Mozambique will need to import at least 1.25 million tonnes of maize, wheat and rice by August to cover food shortages caused by floods, according to Fernando Songane, co-ordinator of Mozambique's National Agriculture Development Programme (PROAGRI).

He said at least 150,000 people in the country were in urgent need of food aid after severe floods in the centre of the country. "We have a shortfall of 500,000 tonnes of maize, 350,000 tonnes of wheat and 400,000 tonnes of rice in 2008," Songane told Reuters in an interview.

"Some 150,000 people are facing acute hunger due to flooding in central Mozambique and we need to start planting before the situation gets out hand in August."

Mozambique's annual grain and cereal imports are normally around 500,000 tonnes, mostly of wheat and rice, which are not produced locally, rather than maize.

Government officials have warned that the country's maize output -- one of the lowest in Southern Africa -- needs to quadruple if it is to satisfy the needs of consumers. "Under PROAGRI, Mozambique needs to introduce new agricultural technologies, improved seeds, more widespread use of irrigation, better pest control, and an improved marketing system in order to achieve this," said Songane.

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(Source: Reuters)

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