Chinese technology transfer boosts grain yield in Mozambique

China Railway 20th Bureau Group Corporation Limited | Updated : 2023-09-15

Mozambique, a country in southeastern Africa, now has grown a special type of rice with plump grains and sweet flavor. The rice is called "Good Taste", from former Mozambican President Armando Emilio Guebuza.

Mozambique has abundant arable land. However, the country has been plagued with a severe grain shortfall because of outdated agricultural techniques and management. China has relatively advanced rice cultivation technology. At the request of the Mozambican government, the China-Africa Development Fund and China Railway 20th Bureau Group Corporation Limited (CR20) in September 2017 jointly launched the Wanbao Mozambique Rice Farm in southern Mozambican Gaza's Xai-Xai district, the largest of its kind undertaken by China in Africa.

An aerial view of the China-Africa Xai-Xai agricultural cooperation project in Mozambique [Photo provided by CR20 ]

Over the past six years, the CR20 has adopted a "company plus farmer" cooperation model in the promotion of the agricultural project. Under the model, the Chinese company undertakes land leveling, water pumping and cofferdam construction, and provides initial investment for infrastructure and other inputs which include production materials, modern machinery, technology and maintenance, to the farm. Meanwhile, Mozambican farmers sign plantation and sales agreements with the company.

The special cooperation model has dramatically brought down Mozambican farmers' costs and risks.

Jose Gildar, a leading farmer in Xai-Xai district, has successfully expanded his cultivation area to four hectares with CR20. This partnership has secured him stable earnings and reliable sales channels.

The grain cooperation project encountered lots of challenges and odds such as weeding, land leveling, ditch clearing and pump station maintenance in the early days of its implementation. It took the project over half a year to level its land.

In April 2018, the agricultural cooperation project achieved its first bumper harvest, which gave local farmers great confidence in their participation in the business venture. Right now, the number of farmers involved has grown from about 30 to 1,000, with 450 participate in the cooperation every year, and the cultivation area has expanded to 45,000 mu (3,000 hectares) as well.

Farmers thumbed up for the harvest in Xai-Xai district, Mozambique in 2018. [Photo provided by CR20 ]

"There are drones carrying out spraying operations over the grain fields and large harvesting machines working on the land," said Margaret, newly elected governor of Gaza. She said that China's modern and mechanical technologies have fundamentally transformed the province's traditional agriculture and bolstered its agricultural development, hoping that the CR20 will further enlarge its cultivation scale to benefit more Mozambican people and improve their living standards.

According to local farmers, their former outdated and non-mechanized agricultural methods produced only 100 kilograms of grains per mu in the past.

The CR20 has held over 20 training sessions on the utilization of tractors and harvesting machines with the participation of more than 1,500 Mozambican farmers.

Right now, many Mozambican farmers have acquired scientific plantation methods and their grain output has grown from three tons to seven and even nine tons per hectare on average.

Manica, a Mozambican national responsible for machine maintenance at a rice processing plant, conveyed great thanks to China and the CR20 for their efforts to help local people have rice at their table. He said that tapioca and corn were the staple food of common people in Mozambique in the past and that rice used to be reserved for the rich.

The agricultural project has closely followed the Global Development Initiative and adhered to the people-centered development philosophy.

Beny is one of contracted farmers with the agricultural project. The annual income of his household has tripled and the family has moved from a cottage house to a newly built cement house. Additionally, the stable family income has fully ensured the education of his five children.

Moreover, the agricultural project has further expanded its business scope and endeavored to become a comprehensive modern agricultural park which incorporates plantation, farming, food processing, trade and logistics. It has made initial progress in the fields of wine making, rice-bran oil processing, feed production, and the farming of pig, fish and silkworm, bringing tangible benefits to Mozambican people.

The agricultural project has brought new happiness to Mozambican farmers, facilitated the utilization of agricultural technologies, the exploration of new cooperative plantation approaches and the expansion of agricultural chains under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It has become an example for Mozambique to forge closer agricultural cooperation with other countries.

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