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       Prova Anual de Vida dos Pensionistas do INSS Residentes no Estrangeiro

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    15 November, 2010
15,000 benefit from rural finance support programme
Maputo, 15 Nov (AIM) – About 15,000 Mozambican peasant farmers, mostly in the south and centre of the country, are benefiting from agricultural credit, under the Rural Finance Support Programme.

This programme is valued at $34.2 million and is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), together with the African Development Bank (ADB). The programme is integrated into the Mozambican government’s Economic Rehabilitation Support Fund (FARE).

According to FARE official Rufino Duvane, the number of beneficiaries from the Rural Finance Support Programme is likely to increase as from 2011, when the area covered expands to include the northern provinces. The target is that the programme should benefit at least 30,000 producers by 2012.

Speaking to reporters at a workshop on the implementation of projects financed by IFAD, Duvane said the money is allocated to farmers via micro-finance institutions. Currently 41 such institutions are involved in the programme.

“The number could increase to 55”, said Duvane, “because many proposals are still being assessed. In terms of direct beneficiaries, currently we have about 15,000”.

“We want to expand these services to the north, and in the next two years we hope to achieve total coverage of the rural zones”, he said. “Right now, we are working to publicise the programme, so as to attract more producers”.

For his part, the coordinator of the government’s National Agricultural Development Programme (PROAGRI), Fernando Songane, explained that the Rural Finance Support Programme would solve the problem of peasants’ access to credit.

“This programme seeks to create the capacity so that the producers can receive funding and manage these resources properly to avoid problems in repayment”, he said.

The objective of the programme is to encourage the expansion of financial institutions in the rural areas, ensuring that individuals, groups and companies in the Mozambican countryside can enjoy sustainable access to financial services. It is hoped to establish a political and institutional climate favourable to the development of rural financial services.

At the opening of the workshop, the Minister of Planning and Development, Aiuba Cuereneia, said that the Mozambican government will continue to prioritise investment in agriculture in order to increase productivity.

He stressed that the current levels of productivity remain very low due to the low use of modern agricultural inputs, the inadequate coverage of extension services, and high rural illiteracy rates.

“We shall increase our production as a result of increased productivity, particularly of food crops”, said Cuereneia. “Agriculture is the predominant sector in the countryside, where the highest levels of poverty are found. It continues to play a key role in food security, and employs the greatest percentage of our rural population”.
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