Agriculture in MozambiqueThe Republic of Mozambique is located in southeastern Africa. The country is mostly coastal lowlands, with uplands in the centre, high plateaus in the northwest, and mountains in the west. Africa’s fourth longest river, the Zambezi, divides Mozambique in half. It is bordered to the north by Tanzania, to the east by the Mozambique Channel, which separates it from the island of Madagascar, to the south and southwest by South Africa and Swaziland, to the west by Zimbabwe, and to the northwest by Zambia, Malawi, and Lake Nyasa. Mozambique lies largely within the tropics, and much of the coastline is subject to the regular seasonal influence of the Indian Ocean monsoon rains. The monsoon influence is strongest in the northeast but is modified somewhat in the south by the island barriers of Madagascar, the Comoros, and the Seychelles. With the exception of highland areas on the northern and western borders and around Gurue (east of the Malawi protrusion into Mozambique), where elevation modifies both temperature and humidity, the climate is seasonal and tropical.
Mozambique has two main seasons: (i) the harvest season, which runs from March to July in the northern region, and from February to June in the central and southern regions; and
(ii) the lean season, which runs from December to March in the northern region, and from October to February in the central and southern regions.
Mozambique’s soils are diverse in quality and type, but the northern and central provinces have generally more fertile, water-retentive soils than does the south, where sandy, infertile soils prevail. The northern soils, whose qualities allow agricultural potential to extend beyond the river valleys, have a higher content of red clay, with a varying range of fertility.
Almost 32,5 million people live in the country (2021 World bank data). Agriculture continues to be the mainstay of Mozambique’s economy, contributing more than a quarter of its GDP and employing 80 percent of its labour force. The overwhelming majority of producers are subsistence farmers. Chronic food insecurity is exacerbated by climate shocks and natural disasters such as floods, droughts and cyclones. Mozambique remains a net importer of food despite its high potential.
Only 16 percent of land suitable for farming is currently cultivated, and its geographic location between landlocked countries to ocean ports raises its potential to play a role in regional food security and international markets. Smallholder farmers account for the vast majority of this sector's production, with some 3.2 million smallholder farmers accounting for 95% of the country's agricultural production. Roughly 400 commercial farmers produce the remaining 5%. Small-scale farms are concentrated in the province of Zambezia in the central region, which also has the largest land area under agriculture (approximately 1 million ha). A small minority of farmers (0.4%) cultivate big plots of land (more than 10 ha); mainly in the southern region (Maputo province).
The major food crops produced in Mozambique include rice, maize, sorghum, and cassava; these crops cover over a third of the total cultivated land area. Maize production is most common in Tete province, while cassava is mostly grown in Nampula province. Irrigated farming is largely carried out along the river valleys in the Southern region. Mozambique has some of the lowest cereal yields in southern Africa, barely reaching a third of their potential. Low agricultural productivity and growth is linked with small farm size and limited investment in infrastructure and technologies for production efficiency, among others. The major cash crops include sugarcane (grown especially in the Maputo province), tobacco, and cotton, mostly cultivated and processed by large multinational or state companies. Sugarcane productivity has increased remarkably over the past two decades, due to improvements in production practices and intensive government promotion of the crop.
Livestock production in MozambiqueLivestock production is also small scale but plays a fundamental role in the lives and nutrition of the rural population, particularly poultry and small ruminants. In urban areas, beef and poultry provide more than 80% of the meat supply to formal outlets. The most common livestock types include cattle and goats, reared largely in Tete and Gaza provinces. Approximately 2.3 million households raise poultry. In the northern parts of the country, livestock production is challenged by animal disease incidence, such as African Animal Tripanosomiasis (AAT), which causes anaemia, weight loss, emaciation and sometimes death of cattle.
Forestry production in MozambiqueMozambique is a country with significant natural forest cover. Native forests and woodlands cover 43% of land-mass, harbouring extensive biodiversity and unique landscapes. The percentage of forested land in Mozambique has rapidly diminished in recent years. This is due to deforestation practices and degradation, especially along the main economic corridors and around urban centres. Although rural communities use forests for their subsistence, the main causes of deforestation and degradation are commercial activities such as intense demand of firewood and charcoal in urban zones and the transformation of forest into large commercial agricultural areas.
Zambezia is one of major provinces of timber production in the country. The forests of Zambezia belong to a semi-arid savannah woodland formation, found widely across Southern and Central Africa, known commonly as miombo, a term which refers to forests dominated by tree genera of the Caesalpinoidae legume sub-family: Brachystegia, Julbernardia and Isoberlinia. Different types of miombo are recognised, based on their structure (height, diameter and number of trees, canopy cover, etc) as well as their species composition and degree of District Population Density. The miombo contain some of the world’s most precious and expensive hardwood timbers. Timber prices vary according to the product and point of sale. These differences are likely related to the quality required by the customer (less vs. more selective) and marketing skill of the operator. In terms of utilized wood volume, charcoal is the most important product of Mozambique’s miombo forests.
Fish industry in MozambiqueMozambique has a coastline of about 2.800 km, indented with several major rivers (Limpopo, Save, Púngoè, Zambezi and Rovuma) and two important freshwater bodies (the lakes of Cahora Bassa and Nyassa). The main fishery area is Sofala Bank, where the majority of the industrial and semi-industrial fleet with freezing facilities is concentrated. Sofala Bank is the most important area for the shallow-water shrimp fishery. On Boa Paz Bank (south of Sofala Bank), gamba (a deep-water shrimp) and line fishery resources predominate. The main supplier of fish for the country's population is still the artisanal fisheries subsector. The fisheries sub-sector plays a crucial role in Mozambique’s economy, supporting the livelihoods of about 380,000 small-scale, artisanal fishers. Only 2-3% of the 39,550 boats (39,550) owned by artisanal fishermen are motorized .