MILOMBO, MOZAMBIQUE– Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has urged the people of Mulombo district, in the central province of Zambezia, to use the Mozambican currency, the metical, and not to accept the Malawian kwacha in payment for their crops.

You produce a lot, but sometimes you think that, by selling your crops for a currency other than the metical, you are gaining something. But our money is much more valuable than many other currencies, he told a rally here Wednesday.

Mulombo is close to the border with Malawi and Malawian traders buy maize from Mulombo farmers. They say ‘I’m going to pay you well’ and give you a large amount of banknotes which, in practice, buys almost nothing,” said Nyusi. We have to open our eyes. We have to sell for the real price of the product.”

He admitted that a good maize harvest had pushed down prices but that was an argument for farmers not to sell their grain all at once. We have to know how to wait, because there will be good moments,” said Nyusi.

It is difficult to argue in favour of the metical, in a district which has no Mozambican bank at which local farmers can deposit their savings. Recognizing this, Nyusi laid the foundation in Mulombo town for a branch of the BCI (Commercial and Investment Bank), the second largest commercial bank in the country.

The BCI branch will be ready for use in about four months. It is part of the government’s One district, one bank initiative, launched in 2016, to guarantee that every district has at least one bank and to speed up the spread of financial services throughout the country.

The Mulombo branch will be the eighth to be built by the BCI under the One district, one branch initiative. The chairperson of the BCI Executive Commission, Paulo Sousa, said 30 per cent of BCI branches are now in the rural districts, rather than in Maputo or other cities.

There are still 11 districts in Zambezia that do not have any bank branch.