Greenhouses Increase Income in Mozambique

Greenhouses Increase Income in Mozambique


Several small farmers are learning to get profit out of their land; they are financed, receiving equipment/assets and they are learning how to do more and better. iDE is responsible for the idea that is changing the lives of many beneficiaries. From this organization, thousands of farmers found what they never had: an opportunity to learn, to increase production, a chance to earn more. iDE has an office in Maputo, an office in Beira (Sofala), an office in Chimoio (Manica), an office in Ulongue (Tete), an office in Nampula (recently closed), an office in Ile (Zambezia). In all of the offices, we can give a number we are working with, more or less, 30,000 small producers. Ângelo Cumaio is one of the beneficiaries that has received financial and technial support over 10 years. It has to do, in my case, with my own origins. My parents, principally my mother, was a farmer in Moamba region and there we learned to enjoy working the land, and as a complement, I graduated as an agricultural technician. After purchasing greenhouses, a lot has changed. Only for the greenhouses, we have invested more than $300,000. Climatic conditions for vegetable production are a real problem. And perhaps, from now on, I would like to thank iDE in advance for having considered us with the greenhouses that you see here in number of 4, 2 tunnels and two other greenhouses locally made by us. They help us solve a big problem because growing vegetables especially in the summer was very difficult to maintain quality, quantity and cost effectiveness. With the application of new technologies, the results are also visible. Being a new technology we have developed a financial package to help producers. If we had given access to a large greenhouse, he would have a high probability of losing his return on investment because if a pest, or an early disease occurs they may lose the whole production. With multiple greenhouse modules, he can eventually face a problem in one greenhouse, but not lose the economic return in another. In these 12 hectares Angelo conducts true miracles, and even supplies more than 9 supermarkets in the city of Maputo. In a greenhouse of this size we harvest every 25 days or every 30 days including five days of preparation, about 3,000 heads of lettuce weighing, more or less, 750 grams each. I will not specify numbers but I must say that the income in a greenhouse is 3x higher than production in the open field. In the case of the tomatoes that we have here, we can do two cycles per year, with an annual harvest of about five to five and a half tons in a space of about six by 30 meters. The work of the funding institutions is not limited to working in the fields. Educating the national consumer is part of the plan. Many times we have a preconception, particularly the citizens of Maputo, when they go to a supermarket and see a Mozambican product and next to that is a South African packaged product, they always have the prejudgment: “Ah, the Mozambican is not good quality.” So, we must guarantee this quality and make a marketing strategy to also educate the consumer that we are able to produce with quality constantly during the whole year. Ângelo slowly introduces new varieties of crops, and knows that a market will be available. Agriculture is of great importance in our food chain, in income generation, in fostering employment for Mozambicans. And that’s what we have been doing, we started with six workers and now we have 36. Adelaide Sitoe has already built her house and, if all goes well, she will be able to pay for her grandchildren’s education. She has been working for 10 years. I can say that my boss is my colleague. Because what I am doing, he is also doing. This is the room we call the processing room. And what happens here? All the products we collect from the field, based on the quantities requested by the supermarkets, first get washed in that tank, washed and disinfected. Then the produce is transported to the processing table. From there we do processing, counting, quality checking and, finally, loading into vans for the supermarkets. With over $8,000 per year in tomato production alone, Ângelo is a satisfied little businessman who would not trade this life for anything else. I am very proud to have started small, and currently I am not big, nor am I small. I feel in constant progression; our company has been progressively opening more doors. In my private life I feel fulfilled. For now I won’t change this activity with anything else, particularly now because some of our children have been here supporting in this activity. It is a good bet to stay. The funders are also pleased with the results and are starting to see the evolution of small farmers. It is possible to make commercial agriculture and horticulture viable in Mozambique, creating access to tailored technologies. After the southern region, iDE aims to extend this project to other regions of Mozambique.

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