Population: 31 million

Poverty rate: 46.1%

Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranked 181 out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index.

Although Mozambique has experienced strong economic growth in recent years, access to nutritious food, clean water, sanitation, electricity, and employment are still low, especially for those in rural areas. The subsistence farmers we work with are extremely vulnerable to climate shocks and natural disasters, such as Cyclone Idai, and also struggle to compete with large-scale producers in the marketplace.

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Case study

Rosita leads her farmers’ association out of poverty

After her husband died, Rosita struggled to care for her five children. She lives in a underprivileged province in Mozambique, where many families suffer through the ‘hungry season’ for up to five months every year.

Unfortunately, 25% of people in Mozambique suffer from malnutrition. The changing climate makes growing nutritious food increasingly difficult. At the same time, there are very few jobs for people living in remote villages.

In Mozambique, we’ve trained over 600 farmers (60% women) in how to grow sweet potatoes to boost nutrition. We also connect farmers’ associations with local markets so they can earn extra income.

With hard work, farmers like Rosita have drastically reduced the hungry season and improved their savings.

“I received many trainings from the project, including how to grow the crop, how to manage diseases, and how to conserve seed. I was also trained on how to market commercially,” said Rosita.

“My life started to change because now when I sell potato, I buy other things to help my family. For example, I have bought modern cooking pots and one goat. I now have more opportunity to improve my life.”

Sweet potatoes are the crop of choice for vulnerable farmers in Mozambique because they have a short cropping cycle (3 – 4 months) that means they can be harvested and sold more frequently than grain. Potatoes also require less water and are very nutrient-dense.

Rosita is now the president of her local farmers’ association. The members work together to improve their bargaining power in the marketplace. They’ve also built a facility to store and share potato seed.

“I never imagined that one day I would be president of the association,” she said. “I am looking forward to continue growing potato so that I can improve my life and that of my family. If all of us do so, then all the community will be improved.”

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