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    9 September, 2010
More tractors available for agriculture

Maputo, 9 Sept (AIM) - A further 850 new tractors will be made available to producers over the next three agricultural seasons, according to Roberto Altino, director of the Mozambican government's Centre for the Promotion of Agriculture (CEPAGRI).

Speaking to Radio Mozambique, Altino said that the government will purchase 430 of these tractors, and the rest will result from various private initiatives.

The new tractors are part of the renovation of Mozambique's fleet of agricultural machinery, intended to raise production and productivity, in order to reach the objectives of the three-year food production plan (which ends in 2011).

Altino pointed out that 95 per cent of Mozambican agricultural producers are family farmers. Medium and large-scale commercial producers account for the other five per cent. To achieve the food production plans, the government must rely on boosting the productivity of the family sector.

He said that over the last two campaigns, 100 tractors and trailers were acquired that were sold to producers on favourable terms. Thirteen combine harvesters were acquired for harvesting rice, and 40 threshing machines to reduce post-harvest losses and increase productivity.

"Right now we have 220 new tractors in Tete, under a programme supported by China", said Altino. "The machines are now being delivered to the producers. We are buying a further 110 which will arrive in January or February 2011 - that is, before the end of this agricultural campaign".

He stressed that only equipment of well-known makes, with agents in Mozambique, is being purchased.

Altino also questioned the traditional division between "food crops" and "cash crops". He said that increasingly crops once regarded as "food crops", such as maize, are providing cash revenues for farmers.

"Today maize is perfectly integrated into the market", said Altino. "For us, the greater the level of integration of small scale producers into the commercial circuit, the better and speedier will be the encouragement given to this sector to produce more".

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