The Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA) has warned that the natural disasters which have struck the country this year have compromised the target for agricultural growth.

Addressing a meeting of the Business Environment Monitoring Council, which brings together government and business representatives, here Friday, CTA Chairman Rogerio Manuel said the drought in southern and central Mozambique should push growth targets downwards.

“In the government’s Economic and Social Plan for 2016, the growth target for the agricultural sector was set at 6.5 per cent but our estimate is that growth in this sector will be less than five per cent,” he added.

The drought has pushed almost 1.5 million people into food insecurity. The opposite problem faces the northern provinces, where heavy rains have led to localized flooding, affecting about 32,000 people.

In the south of the country, 174,000 hectares of crops have been lost because of the drought, said Manuel, and 4,500 head of cattle have died because of lack of pasture and water. He warned that a further 43,500 head of cattle are at risk.

Furthermore, the military tensions in the centre of the country, where gunmen of the rebel movement Renamo have been ambushing vehicles on the main roads, have provoked a further exodus from the countryside into the cities.

This “endangers the normal course of productive activities,” said Manuel, who added that these problems force dthe country’s business community to reflect deeply on what could be done to overcome the effects of such phenomena

Source: NNN-AIM