University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Currency crisis, food security, crops, maize


Mozambique, like many other parts of the low-income world, faces perennial challenges with food security. With a rapidly growing population and arable land on the decline, sustainable agriculture is vital to managing the already depleted natural resources of Sub-Saharan Africa more effectively while increasing food security. Food security issues for subsistence farmers in most low-income countries are a product of endogenous (crop yields) and exogenous (currency fluctuations as many agricultural inputs are imported) factors. In Mozambique the value of the local currency, meticals, has decreased by approximately 50% since January 2015 compared to the U.S. dollar. While this makes exporting products out of Mozambique more attractive in a relative sense, it negatively effects those industries which rely on imported inputs such as animal feed and inorganic fertilizer. In response to this exogenous currency crisis, research was conducted in Nampula, Mozambique during the summer of 2016 on a method for implementing crop diversification to reduce the risk that accompanies the devaluation of the metical. This research was undertaken on a poultry operation which is heavily dependent on imported maize and soya. Similar to the market structure of the poultry industry in the United States, all birds are grown by individual out growers who typically also have small plots of land to farm. Objectives for the project included 1) perform on-site crop production evaluations, 2) determine profitability for various row crops, and 3) simulate alternative production practices to increase crop profitability. Of the crops grown (tomatoes, maize, and cabbage), maize required the least labor, lowest initial investment, and the highest probability of breaking even. This research concluded that if poultry producers in Mozambique who rely on imported feed grew maize simultaneously it would reduce the dependency on imported maize and reduce income variability associated with exogenous currency fluctuations. Implementing a program such as this could increase revenue streams as well as reduce variability, thereby enhancing regional food security