April 4 2010: Mozambique has extended its invitation to the Botswana business community to come and explore business opportunities in the Agriculture sector.
This call has come at a time Mozambique is undergoing a time of promoting investment in the country to enhance economic growth and social development.
Speaking at a Business Seminar on Tuesday, Mozambique’s High Commissioner to Botswana, Tiago Castigo, revealed that “the business community in Mozambique is very supportive and welcomes foreign investments, particularly from Botswana, to develop and diversify the economy.”
The representative of The Mozambican Agriculture and Livestock sector, Lazaro Nhanombe, highlighted that there is a huge untapped potential in the Agriculture sector that Botswana can exploit.
He said that there is a pressing need for strategic involvement of the private sector to help to improve economic growth in the country with particular emphasis in the Agriculture sector.
Nhanombe revealed that the Mozambique market has a great potential to produce commodities for self supply and for export, if proper investment is made because Mozambique is still importing large quantities of agriculture food and livestock products that can be produced locally, whilst for some products, a large part of the production is not exploited due to the lack of infrastructure for commercialization and for Agro processing. He urged Botswana to come and revive the Agriculture sector whose full potential is not being exploited.
Nhanombe said since Botswana imports all its food stuffs they can take this grand opportunity and utilize the land that Mozambique is failing to make the most of.
Nhanombe said the land is state property and can only be leased and the maximum length of a concession is 50 years renewable for a further 50 years and is sold at affordable prices. He urged Botswana to come and invest in the Agriculture sector because the domestic market still largely depends on imports.
He urged investors to come and venture into products that have a high market potential which include wheat, maize, rice, cassava, cashew nuts, and livestock and meat products. Nhanombe said that Mozambique has perfect conditions for growing tropical crops and has a high market potential worldwide citing the city of Chokwe which is an irrigable area and has good conditions for growing horticultural products with a guaranteed market.
In addition, he highlighted that wheat production has great potential since the production was abruptly stopped due to colonization and civil wars and currently the country is dependent on importation and the majority of the wheat comes from the family sector.
He noted that the district of Tsangano in Tete province produces about half of the national production and has the potential to fulfill the domestic demand.
Sugar cane and cassava, he said, also have high market potential.
Rice is also another food crop that was noted to have the potential but the potential is unexploited.
Nhanombe noted that only 212,000 hectares of rice are being cultivated but the land has a potential of cultivating over 900,000 hectares, with SADC countries importing about 1 million tons per year and Mozambique has the potential to fulfill this potential.
He highlighted that even in the beef market, Botswana holds high chances of winning the market in Mozambique because it is very much competitive in the region. He urged Botswana to take advantage of the crumbling Zimbabwean economy and win the beef market since Mozambique used to import almost all beef products from Zimbabwe.
He said the legislature has developed agriculture policies that encourage agro industrialization and developing the Agriculture sector, adding that the Ministry of Agriculture internal structure has been reorganized to provide services more efficiently and create a better environment for investment in the Agriculture sector.
Nhanombe said that the Mozambique Business Association is currently pushing for policies to serve business by promoting an investment-friendly climate, free of corruption and crime, less red tape, legal title to assets and a sound financial system. He encouraged Botswana to consider foreign direct investment for it would improve the financial position of the local firms at the same time giving those opportunities to expand their markets leading to overall growth of the nation.