/ 25 November 2010

SA farmers eye Mozambique

South African farmers are eager to invest in Mozambique, it emerged on Thursday.

“We are very anxious to provide and feed the Mozambican people with affordable food,” South African farmer Charl Senekal told an agricultural conference in the coastal city of Xai-Xai in southern Mozambique.

“Farmers wanting to diversify or who have lost their farms in redistribution have a new opportunity in Mozambique,” he said.

Around 100 South African farmers attended the conference organised by the South African high commission and the provincial government of Xai-Xai province.

South Africa organised the conference to create investment opportunities for South Africans and to strengthen diplomatic links with Mozambique, SA high commissioner Dikgang Moopeloa told the South African Press Association on the sidelines of the conference.

Development in southern Africa
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) also had to develop as a whole to ensure regional stability and stem the inflow of migrants to South Africa.

“There has to be development across the whole region,” he said.

Provincial governor Raimundo Maico Diomba, said Mozambique welcomed the technical expertise from South African farmers.

“From this forum, we hope to bring the rich experience from South Africa to increase agriculture in Mozambique,” he said.

According to 2002 figures from the United Nations’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, only 12% of the 36-million hectares of potential farmland in Mozambique is under cultivation.

High food prices sparked deadly riots in the capital Maputo in September this year.

According to AgriSA figures, at least 810 South African farmers currently operate in Mozambique. — Sapa