Located in south-eastern Africa, Mozambique is a low-income country with a large food deficit and a population of 30,366.036 million in 2019 (World Bank, 2020), most of whom live and work in rural areas. About 71% of the total labor force is employed in the agricultural sector.
The agriculture practiced is mainly subsistence-based and is strongly influenced by frequent climate changes such as droughts, heavy rains, floods, and cyclones. In particular, the impact of recurrent droughts or low rainfall leads to significant crop losses. In addition, access to drinking water sources is poor due to the uneven distribution of wells. Often the inhabitants (especially women and girls) are forced to travel 5 to 20 km to reach the nearest source of supply. This leads to an inability to irrigate crops and thus a decrease in the quality and quantity of food consumed by households, thus increasing the level of food and nutrition insecurity. According to the WFP, acute malnutrition is estimated at 4.4% and chronic malnutrition at 42.3% (2020).
Zambezia, in particular, is one of the poorest and most affected by climate change regions in Mozambique. Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in 2019 caused severe agricultural losses, destruction of infrastructure as well as assets and livelihoods, thus worsening the level of food insecurity in the area. This damage, coupled with poor access to drinking water, has not allowed for widespread production and diversification of agricultural varieties. In fact, although Zambezia has some 8,000,000 hectares under cultivation, only 18% is currently being used.
In collaboration with local partners, the project aims to untie the production of communities in the Namacurra, Nicoadala and Quelimane districts from rainfall and work with irrigation and rainwater harvesting systems. In this way, ICEI will help to improve the quality and quantity of agricultural production of rural families in the area, thereby combating food and nutrition insecurity in the zone.