Mozambique: Education Ministry And CDM Launch Child Nutrition Project

Mozambique’s Ministry of Education has formed a partnership with the beer brewing company CDM (Cervejas de Mozambique – Beers of Mozambique) for the distribution of the non-alcoholic energy drink Super Maheu to schools in areas hit by drought. The project will benefit 13,615 children over the next three months.

The partnership was launched on Saturday in the district of Boane, in the southern province of Maputo. It plans to use Super Maheu as a means of minimising the effects of food insecurity among children attending local schools.

The maize based drink was launched on the Mozambican market by CDM at the beginning of this year. Each 300 millilitre recyclable pack contains 500 calories, which represents almost a third of a student’s basic energy needs.

Speaking during the launch ceremony, which took place in a local primary school, Education Minister Jorge Ferrao explained that the initiative also aims to improve the academic performance of students through better nutrition and a reduction in absenteeism. Ferrao stressed that “the Super Maheu is for the children and the teachers should only oversee the distribution”.

The minister added that the scheme will cover various parts of the country including the districts of Funhalouro and Mabote, in the southern province of Inhambane, and Muanza, in the central province of Sofala.

He revealed that under the agreement with CDM, the brewer will carry the full cost of producing and distributing the Super Maheu.

According to CDM director Jose Moreira, 16,000 crates of Super Maheu will be distributed as part of the company’s programme of social responsibility. He added that his company is “willing to contribute to mitigating of the consequences of the drought and food insecurity that exists throughout the country”.

Super Maheu is made from raw materials from the district of Catandica in the central province of Manica. It is estimated that the production of the drink will require 120 tonnes of maize. The company has invested about three million US dollars with two thousand small-scale farmers to ensure that enough maize is available.

According to the relief agency CARE, nearly two million people in Mozambique are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance because of the worst drought that has hit the country in 35 years. This is due in large part to the El Nino weather phenomena, which in Mozambique is associated with a lack of rain during what is the wettest part of the year- January to March. The drought has mainly hit people living in the south and centre of the country.

The drought has also seriously affected other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. Six SADC states have declared national drought emergencies – Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. In addition, South Africa has declared an emergency in eight of its nine provinces, and Mozambique has declared a red alert in its southern and central provinces.

It is estimated that forty million people in the region are food insecure, which is about 14 per cent of SADC’s total population. Of this number, an estimated 23 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique.