In the district of Alto Molócuè, farmers produce more than 86,000 tons of cassava. It’s a major staple crop for farmers in this region, but they are struggling to market their extra production. Without buyers, some of their harvest rots in storage before it can be eaten by the household.
Farm Radio recently started working on Mozambique, partnering with NCBA-CLUSA and four radio stations in four regions of the country to discuss production and marketing of key crops, including cassava, maize, and beans. NCBA-CLUSA is a US-based NGO focused on developing cooperative enterprises.
In Alto Molócuè, we have partnered with Alto Molócuè Community Radio to talk about producing and selling cassava.
Lúcia Veredas is a cassava farmer in the community of Mohiua. He says, “We had been cultivating this product and one of the problems we were facing was the issue of commercialization, because when we didn’t have a buyer we only scraped, dried and sold, but in small quantities.”
The district of Alto Molócuè is located in the north of the Province of Zambézia in Mozambique. Nearly 400,000 people live in this farming region, where the land is fertile. Here, farmers grow cassava, rice, peanuts, corn, sorghum, beans, and other crops.
But the focus is on cassava, which is produced on more than 12,000 hectares of land.
Six broadcasters at Alto Molócuè Community Radio have received in-station training to produce quality farmer programs that include farmers’ voices and harness the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs), like cellphones.
Alto Molócuè Community Radio is now broadcasting a radio series that discusses a range of issues over 13 weeks, including land preparation, planting, pest and disease management, post-harvest practices and marketing of cassava. The program is called “Hora do produtor” (Hour of the producer).The focus on post-harvest practices includes bagging the harvest and building barns and dryers for improved storage.
Farmers’ voices can be heard each week, discussing their success and challenges in growing, harvesting, storing and marketing cassava. Another key voice in the radio program is the local extension worker, who shares their expertise as well.
One potential market for the farmers in Alto Molócuè is Dutch Agricultural Development & Trading Company, which supplies CDM-Cervejas de Moçambique with fresh cassava to produce Impala Beer. The Dutch Agricultural Development and Trading Company needs high quantities of quality cassava product, as it processes 24-48 tons of cassava daily. This project has helped to link farmers to this buyer.
With improved storage and connections to a buyer, farmers like Lúcia can earn a good income from their cassava harvest, while also storing some for home consumption.
In total, the project has trained 26 broadcasters in Manica, Angonia, Ribaue and Alto Molócuè. In each community, several listening groups have also been established, so that farmers can discuss the information they hear on the radio and contribute themselves by calling the station.
This project is funded by the New Alliance ICT Extension Challenge fund, promoting technologies validated by the Scaling Seeds and Technologies Partnership (SSTP) in conjunction with Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).