Maputo — Gurue (Mozambique), 11 Sep (AIM) – Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, campaigning for his re-election, on Tuesday promised that, if the ruling Frelimo Party wins the general elections scheduled for 15 October, ten per cent of the state budget will be allocated to agriculture.
“We shall allocate ten per cent of the budget to agriculture. This means making agriculture an intensive activity”, declared Nyusi at a rally in Gurue district, in the central province of Zambezia.
Currently agriculture is lumped together with rural development as a heading in the government’s budget documents. In the budget approved for 2019, agriculture and rural development are allocated 11 per cent of public expenditure (excluding financial operations and debt servicing). This is similar to spending on health (10.6 per cent of the budget), and much less than expenditure on education (21.5 per cent).
Gurue is well known for its fertile territory, and particularly for its tea plantations. Devastated by the Renamo rebels in the 1980s, the plantations are now recovering.
“Gurue is rich land”, said Nyusi. “It produces tea, macadamia nuts, beans, soya, potatoes, and tomatoes, among other crops”.
He believed the district has agro-ecological conditions favourable for high yield agriculture, and can help end the country’s dependence on imported agricultural goods.
Nyusi took up the theme of agriculture again later in the day, at a rally in Alto Molocue district. “We have to increase love for agriculture”, he declared. The stress on agriculture, he added, was not only to ensure import substitution, but also to provide employment, particularly for young Mozambicans.
He promised he would do all in his power to make a success of the “first jobs” project which he launched on Saturday. The key innovation in this project is that it will offer fiscal benefits to companies who hire youths who have never had a job before.
“When a young man applies for his first job, the companies ask for experience”, said Nyusi. “How can he have experience if he hasn’t worked before?”
He said that more than 120 billion meticais (about two billion US dollars) should be invested in the development of Mozambican agriculture over the next five years. More than three million people should benefit from this investment.