by Andrea Sandrini
Zambézia is one of the poorest provinces in Mozambique and an area with a high rate of malnutrition. Here Mani Tese has been carrying out its cooperation and development projects for over 25 years, with a focus on Quelimane, the administrative capital of Zambézia, which has seen its population grow exponentially in recent years.
In this context, ensuring the availability of food and a complete and nutritious diet, as well as the promotion of sustainable agriculture, is the main challenge we propose to address within the framework of the “Circular Agriculture” project co-funded by the 8×1000 government.
In the 6 beneficiary communities (Barrone, Eduba, Safure, Navilembo, Mudenga, Mazuere) of the administrative centre of Maquival, within the district of Quelimane, the project is bearing fruit. A series of initial activities have already been initiated (which you can read about here) and a demonstration field has been created for each community, where Mani Tese staff and local partner UPC-Z (Provincial Union of Farmers of Zambézia) are demonstrating the techniques and benefits of conservation agriculture. In addition, poultry houses and pigsties have been built and six livestock management committees have been established.
The project has now entered an important phase due to a number of factors, one of which is the start of the agricultural campaign, which officially opened on 13 November. The support of Mani Tese and UPC-Z technicians to the beneficiary communities is more important than ever at this stage because it is time for the purchase and distribution of cereal and legume seeds and the distribution of protection material for the farmers.
Another important factor is the approaching rainy season, which dictates a tight schedule for certain activities that must be completed before the end of the dry season. In particular, the construction of six wells, in each of the beneficiary communities, will have to be carried out in a short period of time, together with irrigation systems to help the agricultural countryside.
A very important component of the project is to reinforce the protein intake of the beneficiary communities. This is why the project includes the introduction of animals (pigs, chickens and ducks), training cycles and the establishment of two demonstration farms for animal reproduction. The distribution of the animals has been scheduled for February, when the rains will have subsided, as the humidity allows the Newcastle virus, which affects both hens and ducks, to proliferate and circulate more widely.
Finally, to promote the importance of a complete and healthy diet, in addition to the more traditional training sessions, it is planned to hire a theatre company to engage and raise awareness in a participatory way among members of the entire community. An educational play on agriculture and nutrition will therefore be staged between December and January and then, after the animals have been distributed, a play on the importance of good protein nutrition and animal husbandry.
Here are some photos from the training sessions on circular agriculture: