Conservation Agriculture Approach for Poverty Reduction and Food Security in Sofala Province, Mozambique.
J.P.C. Taimo, PROMEC, Beira Sofala, Mozambique, Ademir Calegari, Iapar, Soil Dept - Iapar, Londrina, Brazil, and Manfred Schug, Direcção Provincial de Agricultura de Sofala / CIM, BP 2766, Maputo, Mozambique.
Normally in Sofala Province, Mozambique, Africa the traditional soil management practice consist in take the all plant residues of the previous crop are either burned or removed from the field at the end of the dry season before soil preparation for the following planting season. The soil is intensively worked and the labour demand for soil preparation is very high and usually the family labour is only sufficient to plant ½ to 1 ha-1 of cereals. Generally the staple crops are cultivated as mono cropping where cereals are followed by cereals (maize after maize, or maize after sorghum, etc.). After planting the crops are weeded at least three times and the plant base is covered by soil. The manual land preparation is extremely hard and energy consuming work. For the preparation of 1ha of land a farm worker needs some 30 to 45 days if he works during an average of 8 hours a day, for the lighter soils, in clay and and humid soils as we find them in Búzi, and Dondo Districts demand an even higher labour input. Taking into consideration the regional farming system and land use pattern and the necessity to improve the food security and poverty situation in rural Sofala it is of prime importance to adapt and make available to the farmers a System of Sustainable Agriculture. In response to the negative aspects stressed in the previous point, major efforts to introduce and spread CA practices (cover crops, mulching, adequate crop rotation, etc.) in Sofala province, have been done with strong coordination efforts between different projects working in partnership with the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture (Ministry of Agriculture), namely: PROMEC, PACDIB and APROS (Austrian Government funded projects), GTZ-PRODER (German Government funded). The results achieved at field condition showed: (1) Crop yield increased up to 30%; (2) Reduction of irrigation by 60%; (3) Reduction of weeding by up to 90%; (4) Reduction of soil preparation by close to 75%.