Fact Sheets

Wildlife crime is threatening both the black and white rhino and elephant populations in the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation area (GLTFCA), a transboundary area bordering Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Poaching and illegal wildlife trade remains an alarming threat to the survival of rhino and elephant species, particularly in the Kruger National Park in South Africa where populations have rapidly declined as the region has become a lucrative rhino poaching hotspot.

In the 1990s, the government of Mozambique created a legal framework for land which recognized traditional community rights while encouraging investment. While the resulting legislation is progressive – land is owned by the state, and communities and good faith occupants have perpetual use rights – it has been unevenly implemented. The majority of rural residents are unaware of their communal and individual land rights, or, if aware, lack the political, financial, and technical means to effectively assert those rights in key situations.

During the 1960s and early 1970s, Gorongosa National Park (GNP) was considered one of the premier protected areas in Southern Africa, renowned for its abundance and diversity of wildlife. However, after Mozambique’s liberation and independence in 1975, civil strife and rampant poaching decimated wildlife and destroyed tourism infrastructure. In 2008, the nonprofit Carr Foundation created the Gorongosa Restoration Project as part of an initial 20-year agreement with the Government of Mozambique (GMR) to return GNP to its pre-conflict exuberance.

Agriculture is the backbone of Mozambique’s economy. More than 80% of Mozambicans are employed in the agricultural sector with 90% of those being women. Therefore, accelerating agricultural growth is a key means of eradicating poverty and increasing food security in rural areas where poverty is widespread. The crops targeted by this activity (common bean, cowpea, groundnuts, pigeon pea and soybean) are the foundation of Mozambique’s food and nutrition security and a source of income for many smallholder farmers. Nevertheless, the competitiveness and profitability of most smallholder legume and sesame farmers are constrained by low productivity due to limited access to improved varieties and outdated agronomic practices.

Rural livelihoods in Mozambique are primarily agriculturally based and climate dependent. Climate shocks will likely increase poverty and malnutrition for rural households, which are not currently resilient enough to withstand the effects of a changing climate. According to the Feed the Future Resilient Agricultural Markets Activity (RAMA) Framework, “Resilient Agricultural Markets Activity encompasses how agriculture affects and is affected by climate change and aligns this integration with food security objectives.

Despite Mozambique’s recent economic growth and its strategic location in southern Africa, the country still faces challenges in developing its agriculture sector and reducing hunger. The most common is the lack of access to quality inputs and markets. The Mozambican agricultural market has an undeveloped agro-inputs distribution system, with very few agriculture supply shops in rural areas. The few inputs that are commercially available are found in distant urban centers, inaccessible to most farmers.

USAID has worked closely for years with partners such as private sector companies and associations, civil society organizations, and the Government of the Republic of Mozambique (GRM) to increase investment and incomes in the agriculture sector. The GRM has set forth an ambitious agenda to increase equitable, pro-poor agricultural growth and sustainably reduce poverty and hunger. Aligned with GRM’s vision, USAID’s FTF Inova provides the framework for ensuring that successes in Mozambique’s agricultural sector are enduring, that market actors are resilient, and that women benefit from growth in the agricultural sector.

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) offers a promising pathway to sustainable intensification of agriculture and increased farm productivity, income and resilience for smallholder farming families. CSA is not new to Mozambique, but uptake has been slow due to various demand- and supply-side challenges. Limited awareness and trust in new technologies and a lack of access to markets and finance constrain demand. Further, even where demand exists, low-capacity and poorly functioning systems fail to deliver a supply of high-quality inputs and services to the rural farmer.

Agriculture is the backbone of Mozambique’s economy - employing 80% of the active workforce; 90% of the female labor force and 70% of the male working population. Accelerating agricultural growth is a key means of eradicating poverty and increasing food security in rural areas where poverty is widespread. BHEARD aims to help improve agricultural productivity and growth, integrate agriculture and nutrition and contribute to a more robust policy development process in areas such as trade and agribusiness. Progress in these areas requires attention to critical shortages of agricultural policy analysts, research scientists, nutritionists, and agribusiness professionals who are trained at the postgraduate level (M.S. or PhD).

Covering 42,300 km2, the Niassa National Reserve (NNR) in northern Mozambique is larger than Switzerland and is home to the country’s greatest concentrations of wildlife, including 70% of Mozambique’s elephants and a third of the lion population. The NNR is also home to 40,000 people, who depend critically on the Reserve’s fish, water, timber, soil, meat, and tourism revenue for their livelihoods. Yet despite the Reserve’s size and importance, the area is still little known internationally, and conservation is under significant threat from poaching, commercial logging, unmanaged use of natural resources, and relatively weak management capacity.

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Last updated: April 01, 2020

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