MAPUTO, The Mozambican government has approved an “Integrated and Inclusive Rural Development Project”, named “Sustenta” (“Sustain”), with the purpose of encouraging and financing family agriculture.

Budgeted at about 16 billion meticais (about 231 million US dollars), and financed by the World Bank, the pilot project will be run in the two most populous provinces, Nampula and Zambezia, and is expected to benefit more than 700,000 peasant farmers.

President Filipe Nyusi will formally launch the project on Friday, at a ceremony in the Nampula district of Ribaue.

Speaking to the media after the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) here Tuesday, Land, Environment and Rural Development Minister Celso Correia stressed that the project would stimulate household agricultural production and contribute to poverty reduction.

Through productivity and market access, he expected to see a rise in the incomes of rural households.

in order to ensure that peasant farmers gain access to the funding, the government will work with the “middle farmers” in each area — those who farm areas in between the plots of small peasants, and commercial farms. These “middle farmers” will draw the smallholder farmers into the programme.

Correia said he expects each middle farmer to encourage increases in production from around 200 small farmers.

The required agricultural inputs will be delivered to the beneficiaries for the 2017-2018 agricultural year, which begins in September. “We don’t want to do everything at the last minute. There will be preparation for communities which will allow the government to work in accordance with the agricultural calendar,” Correia said.

This project “envisages financing inputs for the communities at zero interest. It will also finance other means of production for small farmers such as technologies and weirs, at preferential interest rates, and also for small and medium companies at the same interest rates”.