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       Prova Anual de Vida dos Pensionistas do INSS Residentes no Estrangeiro

   News Archive News
    4 February, 2011
Food stocks available until June
Maputo, 4 Feb (AIM) – Mozambique’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Armando Inroga, told reporters on Friday that there are already sufficient stocks of foodstuffs in the country to meet the needs of the national market until June.

The imports currently being made by Mozambican businesses, he added, were intended to supply the country with basic foodstuffs in the second half of the year.

Inroga also guaranteed that there would be no increase in food prices in the immediate future, despite the rising prices of grain, particularly wheat, on the world market.

“Until March, there will be no increase in food prices”, he pledged. “Private operators have assured us that there is enough food in the country to meet the needs until June.”

But he could not guarantee what might happen to prices in the second half of the year.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that food prices are returning to the levels recorded in 2007/2008. The supply of wheat was hit by last year’s drought and fires in Russia, and the Russian government’s decision to restrict exports in order to protect the local market.

A second major wheat producer, Australia, has just suffered catastrophic flooding, which is certain to hit the country’s grain exports.

Despite the government’s effort to increase local production of rice and wheat, Mozambique still faces an annual wheat deficit of 469,000 tonnes and a rice deficit of 316,000 tonnes. The country also needs to import 50,400 tonnes of vegetable oil a year. 

Inroga said the government is monitoring the situation to prevent turbulence on world markets from eroding Mozambican purchasing power.

“The government has been working to minimize the impact of world food prices”, he said. “That’s why it drew up the Food Production Action Plan (PAPA)”.

This plan, drawn up at the time of the 2007/2008 food crisis, contains a range of medium term measures to make the country self-sufficient in basic food stuffs.

While it is certainly possible to make the country as self-sufficient in rice as it is in maize and cassava, the same cannot be said for wheat. Not enough of the country is suitable for wheat production to satisfy the craving of the urban population for bread.

Substantial wheat imports are likely to continue for the foreseeable future, and a government subsidy is the only way to prevent increases in the international price of wheat from being passed on to Mozambican consumers of bread. The government is already giving bakers a subsidy of 200 meticais (6.3 US dollars) for every 50 kilo bag of flour used to bake bread, in order to hold bread prices to their August 2010 level.

To keep the price of bread steady, the government may well be obliged to increases this subsidy later in the year.
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