Green Revolution, which made India self-reliant in food production in the late 60s, is now inspiring the underdeveloped countries across the globe. The African nation Mozambique, having agriculture friendly climatic zone is the latest name in the list.
According to the World Bank, 52.4 percent area of Mozambique is covered with forest while agriculture is done in 3.9 million hectares of arable land, only 5 percent of area of the country. And therefore, the country has tremendous growth opportunities in the food production sector in the rest of the land.
Wooing for Partnership
In an effort to learn from the Indian experience of Green Revolution, the President of this African nation, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi and Minister of Agriculture José Pacheco visited India in August.
During the visit, the President of Mozambique invited Indian industry to invest in his country as it offers conducive environment and sustainable development as well as domestic investments.
Going forward, the agriculture minister emphasised on bilateral partnerships in the agriculture sector. He said, “By going together with India and adopting Indian expertise, we can achieve the goal of Green Revolution in Mozambique. As food security is our main focus in the next five years, we have already established Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the country where we can work together. We are focusing the research on seeds, irrigation, fertilisers, pesticides and mechanisation.”
Inviting the Indian farm mechanisation, seeds, irrigation, agro-chemicals and agriculture industry, the minister said, “We have good investment opportunities in the staple foods like maize, rice, soybean, poultry as well as in cotton. There is a big opportunity in the food processing and agribusiness sectors also. There are big reasons of forming partnership. We invite investment, but it should be with a social responsibility. Let’s go together to reach the goal of Green Revolution in Mozambique.”
Similar to India, as per 2014 figures, 68.04 percent population in the country is living in the rural areas while 31.96 percent is living in the urban areas. Agriculture is the largest source of employment as 79.49 percent of country’s total labour force is dependent on the agriculture sector. These conditions open tremendous growth opportunities in the agriculture sector, laying a partnership with India.
Bringing Green Revolution in Africa
Embracing the opportunity, Deepak Mittal, Managing Director, International Tractors, which makes tractors in the brand name of Sonalika, says, “Mozambique has a great potential with a very fertile land. It has all the ingredients for growth. The country has many similarities with India such as 22 percent GDP of the nation is coming from agriculture. Besides, small holding farmers play an important role in the food security of the nation.” Smallholding and family farming provide 90 percent of food of the country.
“In bringing Green Revolution, India has good experience by adopting farm mechanisation, fertilisers and seeds. Universities and agricultural institutes played vital role in bringing Green Revolution in India. This experience can easily be replicated in Mozambique,” he added.
Acknowledging the investment sentiments in the country, Indian companies are showing interest in bringing Green Revolution in the African nations. “We are going to establish a tractor assembling plant as well as farmer training institute in Mozambique. The country has a higher growth rate and we want to partner with them,” Mittal further says.
Mozambique imports two-third of the rice from other countries. Many experts believe that by bringing Green Revolution, the country will not only reduce its food imports but it can also become the food basket of entire African continent.
Arun Jain, Secretary, Agro Machinery Manufacturing Association and partner at Krishna Techno Cast, says, “The Association is working with the agriculture universities and institutes and helping boost agri produce across the globe. We see good opportunities in Mozambique to be the future food basket of Africa by better mechanisation practices.”
Currently, International Tractors focuses in Mozambique through mechanisation and modern agri practices. For this, it is focusing on skill development and training of agricultural workforce in the country.
“By closely working with the universities, we will put training centres to educate the trainers. We are also inviting the engineers from Mozambique for their training in India,” says Rajiv Kumar, senior president at International Tractors.
Many experts opine that farm mechanisation alone cannot bring the Green Revolution. Better irrigation technologies, advanced seeds, pesticides, agri machinery and farmers’ interests were put together to achieve the Green Revolution in India.
“Mozambique can become the food basket of the entire African continent as today we are already importing pulses and oilseeds from there. India has created best quality institutions for agricultural research, it can be replicated in Mozambique also,” says Ashish Wele, president at Nirmal Seeds.
The seed replacement ratio in Mozambique is considerably very low. For bringing Green Revolution, the seeds of the high yield varieties need to be introduced with scientific seed replacement ratio. Currently, India has more than 500 seeds companies who can cater to this potential.
This African nation imports pesticides of more than US$ 10 million annually, creating an opportunity for Indian pesticide manufacturing companies to tap this potential. About 73.9 percent of Mozambique’s fresh water is used for irrigation in agriculture which opens the door for Indian micro-irrigation companies to provide solutions for better utilisation of water.
In the era of globalisation, these kinds of bilateral partnerships can be a game changer for the underdeveloped nation as well as it can boost the industries in the partner countries.