SIMLESA undertook on-farm research in different agroecological zones to assess the benefits of CASI and to develop appropriate technological packages for farmers. It increased the range of maize, legume and fodder/forage varieties available to smallholder farmers. Farmers were involved in participatory seed selection trials to identify the seed with qualities that they prefer. SIMLESA helped establish Agricultural innovation platforms (AIPs) to bring members along the value chain together (including farmers, seed producers, agro-dealers, NGOs and extension workers) to better serve farming communities, help mobilize resources, and support scaling. SIMLESA also provided training and capacity strengthening for national agricultural research systems and worked with government, business, and civil society organizations to provide an enabling environment for the benefits of CASI to be realized by farmers.
In Mozambique, cassava and maize are the main staple crops. Sorghum, millet, rice and beans are also grown to provide food security. Unfortunately, farmers are still growing traditional (local) varieties that are low yielding and susceptible to adverse effects of climate changes.
Maize productivity in Mozambique is around 800 kg per hectare, less than half the average for the Southern Africa region. The value adding chains for agricultural products are still in the early stages of development due to problems relating to production, quality of the products, lack of functional markets and access to financial services and to credit (FAO, 2012). Additional problems involve low investment in the sector and competition with imported goods. Producers face many problems to place their products, with the most frequent being the lack of traders, long distances to markets, lack of transport and low prices, among others (SETSAN, 2014).
Mozambican agriculture is generally characterized by lower yields and lower input use than other countries in the region as well as greater probability of climatic extremes such as droughts, floods and cyclones. Because of this, local policy makers and agricultural specialists have expressed interest in exploring the potential for conservation agriculture (CA) to improve smallholder productivity and decrease vulnerability to climatic events and overall climate change in Mozambique. Though CA has been promoted in Mozambique since 1996, data supporting CA yield increases in Mozambique remain limited.
SIMLESA was implemented in two distinct agro-ecological areas of central Mozambique (Figure 3) in six communities. Low potential (R4) agro-ecological areas include Sussundenga and Gorongosa. High potential (R10) agro –ecological areas are Manica, Rotanda, Ciphole and Cabango in Angónia.
The low potential areas are characterized by medium textured generally well drained and red coloured soils. The cropping system is dominated by cereal/legume crops. Maize (Zea mays) and sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] are dominant crops. Legume crops include cowpea (Vignaunguiculata, L), groundnut (Arachishypogaea, L.), pigeonpea (Cajanuscajan, L.) and more recently soybean [Glycine max, (L.)Merryl]. Annual precipitation varies from 1000 to 1200 mm falling mainly from November to March. Average temperature is 26.5 oC.
The high potential areas are characterized by occurrence of red clay soils (RhodicFerralsols) and Ferralitic soils from plateaus. The cropping system of R10 is dominated by maize associated with legume (common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris,L), soybean and potatoes (SolanumtuberosumL.). Total rainfall is 1400-1800mm per annum and average temperatures vary from 15 to 22 degrees Celsius. In general soils are productive but the amount of Nitrogen in arable soils is very low (INIA, 1993)
Direct beneficiaries reached through SIMLESA support : 102,856
Innovation Platforms: 10
Farmers reached: 24000
Researchers trained 651
Adoption target: 117,641
|Area under dedicated for maize (millions)||1.4|
|Production per ha (tonnes)||0.85|
Some of our field experimental sites: