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Seed management improving food security in Mozambique

Maize seed kernels. A recent study found that  seeds, along with water and fodder, were more needed than food in the Horn of Africa drought of 2008-9. Photo: Ian Hayhurst/Flickr.

Mozambique is one of the “least developed countries” in the world according to EuropeAid. One of the main challenges facing farmers is a lack of money to survive from one crop cycle to the next. Many meet this challenge by selling too much of their crop leaving them without enough seeds to adequately prepare for the following season. This problem is exacerbated by out-dated methods of crop-storage.

A two-year project co-funded by EuropeAid with €1.3 million in the provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula has focused on “better access to quality seeds, increased yield of seeds and food crops and reduced storage losses for farmers.”

Caura, a community development worker, says: “Now we use a variety of maize seeds that are produced in a shorter period and in bigger quantities. The project helped us choose the right land and sowing period, which increased our production yield and with the silos we can better store what we produce.”

In all 38,000 rural farming families have been affected with 150 farming councils trained in trained on “post-harvest technologies, quality seed production and seed bank management”. All of this works towards increasing food security in the region.

Much of the work focuses on marrying local skills with modern technology. So the improved storage silos are built with local materials but incorporate the use of repellants to decrease insect damage.

District Technician Mamudo Ibraimo says: “The project has a big positive side to it because it supports methods that can easily be adapted at local level. The project has improved the food security situation and increased incomes for rural families.”

Maize occupies nearly half the land used for annual crops in Mozambique but its average maize yields are less than 1 ton per hectare according to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). Since 1995, CIMMYT has worked with Mozambique’s National Institute of Agronomic Research (IIAM) to improve yields by developing improved maize varieties and hybrids.

See also: Drought response lesson one: water, seeds and fodder are better than food.

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Lar Boland: Solar Grandmothers

Solar GrandmothersPuppetry knows no language barrierFrom student to master
HotitodeMialo TassiHailed by the chief
Student to master 2Going solarMialo Tassi
AkouaviInstalling panels for a clinicSolar power for the clinic
Life in Agome SevahThe river MonoTrade across the Mono
FishingPetrolLife in Agome Sevah

Solar Grandmothers

Supported by the Simon Cumbers Media Fund, Photojournalist Lar Boland documented the solar technology training of 4 Grandmothers (pictured with mentor) at Rajasthan's Barefoot College and their return to Togo.

Puppetry knows no language bar

Puppetry is used for training at the Barefoot College as many of the women being trained are illiterate. Photo: Lar Boland.

From student to master

An Indian instructor who herself trained at the Barefoot College demonstrates the working of electronic panels to the Togolese solar grandmothers. Photo: Lar Boland.

A trainee working on the installation of a mobile solar lamp. Photo: Lar Boland.


  Togoalise is one of the four Solar Grandmothers from the remote village of Agome Sevah in Togo. Photo: Lar Boland.


Akouavi is one of the four Solar Grandmothers from the remote village of Agome Sevah in Togo. Photo: Lar Boland.


Hotitode is one of the four Solar Grandmothers from the remote village of Agome Sevah in Togo. Photo: Lar Boland.

Mialo Tassi

Mialo Tassi is one of the four Solar Grandmothers from the remote village of Agome Sevah in Togo. Photo: Lar Boland.

Hailed by the chief

On their return to Agome Sevah, the Solar Grandmothers are greeted by the Chief of the village. Photo: Lar Boland.

Student to master 2

Having returned to Agome Sevah after a six month training period at the Barefoot College, the Solar Grandmothers set about training others at their workshop. Photo: Lar Boland.

Going solar

A group of Solar Grandmothers and helpers on their way to erecting solar panels at a small village home in Agame Sevah, Togo. Photo: Lar Boland.

Mialo Tassi

Mialo Tassi, a Solar Grandmother, on her way to erecting solar panels at a small village home in Agome Sevah. Photo: Lar Boland.


Akouavi, a Solar Grandmother from Agome Sevah erecting solar panels at a small village home. Photo: Lar Boland.

Installing panels for a clinic

Solar Grandmothers outside a newly built clinic which they are about to solar electrify. Photo: Lar Boland.

Solar power for the clinic

Solar Grandmothers install solar panels on the roof of the newly built clinic in Agome Sevah. Photo: Lar Boland.

Life in Agome Sevah

A family from the rural village of Agome Sevah have their daily wash in the Mono river which seperates Togo from Benin. Photo: Lar Boland.

The river Mono

The much used Mono river which divides Togo and Benin. Photo: Lar Boland.

Trade across the Mono

The river Mono between Togo and Benin is regularily crossed by traders. Photo: Lar Boland.


Children fishing in the Mono River. Photo: Lar Boland.


Petrol bought at a reduced price in Benin, and smuggled across the Mono river, is later sold on the streets of Togo, such as the capital Lome. Photo: Lar Boland.

Life in Agome Sevah

Everyday life in Agome Sevah. Photo: Lar Boland.


A Togo war veteran with his grandaughter. Photo: Lar Boland.


A man builds a small dwelling in Agome Sevah. Photo: Lar Boland.


Children can now study in the evening with the help of solar power. In Togo, near the equator, it gets dark at around 5:30. Photo: Lar Boland.

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