WASHINGTON, June 30, 2016 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today US$40 million (of which US$26 million in grants) in support of the Republic of Mozambique’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Landscape Management Project. It will contribute to the sustainability of natural resources while improving the livelihoods of targeted rural households in Mozambique.
Mozambique’s two decades of capital-intensive economic growth with limited linkages to the local economy has had little impact on poverty reduction. The country’s current economic challenges bring to the fore the need to deepen growth in labor-intensive sectors such as agriculture and forestry, which have the potential to ensure greater inclusiveness of growth.
Mozambique’s substantial natural capital includes an estimated 36 million hectares of arable land and 40 million hectares of natural forests. However, the country’s natural resources are being rapidly depleted: 220,000 hectares of natural forests are lost every year, and erosion is pervasive. Ensuring the sustainability and resilience of the natural resource base on which agriculture and forestry depend, particularly soil and water, is critical for sustainable development.
“I’m pleased with the approval today of this project as Mozambique has a lot to benefit from its potential in the agricultural and forestry sectors, said Mark Lundell, Country Director for Mozambique. “Low productivity, marginal use of improved inputs and labor-saving technologies, poor use of agronomic knowledge, and limited rural infrastructure are some of the factors hindering the development of these sectors.”
More than twenty thousand households, including particularly women, will thus directly benefit from the project’s increased market access, new technologies and mechanization, productive inputs and infrastructure, as well as access to land titles (individual and communal), financing, and value chains. Another 100 small and emerging commercial farmers and 25 small, medium and large enterprises will access grants and commercial finance, as well as technical and business support and training, for business development and expansion. Furthermore, the project will improve rural infrastructure and enhance institutional performance in integrated landscape management across the country, thus reaching a significant number of indirect beneficiaries.
This project is part of a Program or series of projects designed to be scalable by expanding coverage geographically over time. The Project will focus on the provinces with high levels of poverty and agriculture and forestry potential in the central (Zambeze province) and northern region of the country (including Nampula province).
“Agriculture can have positive or negative impacts on natural resources depending on the adopted practices and their effects on land cover and ecosystems,” added Mark Austin, World Bank task team leader for the operation. “This project encourages sustainable agriculture practices and seeks to increase productivity while strengthening the resilience of natural resources and productive systems.”
The Project is aligned with the government’s five-year plan, Plano Quinquenal do Governo (2015–2019), and the World Bank twin-goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity in the world.