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    4 September, 2017
Over twenty thousand farmers benefit from mechanisation programme
Chimoio (Mozambique), 4 Sep (AIM) – From October 2016 to July this year, 21,045 Mozambican farmers benefitted from tractors to plough their lands, and other technological packages to improve agricultural production and productivity. This was a dramatic increase, since in the 2015/2016 agricultural year only 1,624 farmers benefitted from this equipment, provided by the Agricultural Service Centres.

The figures were revealed in Gondola, in the central province of Manica by Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco, during the 3rd national meeting on agricultural mechanization.

Over the same period, Pacheco added, the mechanization programme met 82 per cent of its target. It was planned that the equipment hired out to farmers would be used on 61,560 hectares. The figure reached was 50,455 hectares.

But estimated production from this land was only half of what had initially been projected. Pacheco said the total amount of production resulting from this mechanized agriculture was estimated at 156,222 tonnes – which is only 50.4 per cent of the programmed figure of 312,109 tonnes. The main crops produced in these areas were maize, rice, beans, sesame and vegetables.

Nonetheless, Pacheco said the mechanization programme had helped improve the income of small farmers, and had created 640 new direct jobs, and 3,575 indirect jobs.

“The programme does not only directly benefit the producers”, he said. “It is improving the lives of many Mozambicans. In this package of activities, 542 machine operators were trained, 58 managers, and 64 extensionists and mechanics. We are all gaining from this process where our target is to produce ever more food and guarantee the food and nutritional security of the country”.

Under the agricultural mechanization programme, by July this year 134 Agricultural Service Centres had been established throughout the country, 90 through the Ministry of Agriculture and 44 through the Zambezi Valley Development Agency. 107 of the centres are privately run, and 27 are public. A further 61 individual beneficiaries received equipment not from the centres, but from the provincial governments.

584 tractors and their respective tools have been acquired, 513 by the Ministry and the remainder financed by the Zambezi Valley agency.
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