A predominantly rural country, Mozambique has been facing major socioeconomic shifts in the last decades. Ravished by more than fifteen years of civil war, which rendered the country one of the most impoverished of the world, Mozambique’s trajectory in the last two decades is now marked by institutional strengthening, consolidation of democracy and impressive economic growth – gross domestic product is growing by more than 6.5 percent a year for the past five years.

Even with such considerable advances, Mozambique continues to face serious challenges as economic growth alone has not reduced food insecurity. Nearly 60% of the 24.4 million Mozambicans live in the rural areas, which gather more than 80% of the poor. Mozambique is ranked 184th out of 187 countries in the UNDP Human Development Report, and according to the World Bank, nearly 54% of the population lives under the national poverty line.

Small-scale agriculture is responsible for most of the national production in Mozambique, nevertheless revenues from farming are not very high, and output is largely influenced by the recurrent climatic shocks, which affects directly food security conditions. According to WFP, Mozambique is the third most affected country in Africa by weather-related hazards, which makes the country particularly vulnerable in terms of food security. Deteriorating terms of trade due to increased international food and fuel prices is also an obstacle to increasing income of small-holders in the country.

Opportunities will continue to arise in the country, as part of its underutilized agricultural potential gets further explored. Agricultural production has significantly improved since the end of war, increasing output and reducing dependence on food aid shipments.

Key Statistics

Country area: 79938 (1000 Ha)

Land area: 78638 (1000 Ha)

Agricultural area: 49300 (1000 Ha)

Population (Est.): 25028 (1000)

GDP: 9586 (millions of US dollars)

Human Development index: 0,284

Global Hunger Index: 23,3

Source: FAO Country Profile, 2013

Food and Nutrition Security

Despite progress over the last two decades, FAO considers that Mozambique remains a food-insecure country where considerable improvements are still needed in food availability, access and utilization. Food insecurity, chronic malnutrition and poverty are major challenges, where according to local accounts 35% of the population is subjected to food insecurity and 44% to chronic undernourishment.

The civil war has left its mark on Mozambique’s food security situation as well: due to the destruction of the country’s main infrastructures, especially markets and roads, physical access to food remains as a major challenge to food security, particularly in rural areas. Limited purchase power is one of the main constraints for access to food in urban areas, especially in times of increasing food prices. Difficulties with transportation mean that sometimes food shortages in one region of the country need to be remedied by importing from neighboring countries rather than from other regions in the national territory. This situation has improved in the last years as the country continues to build its infrastructure to integrate the North and the South of the country.

In spite of the high numbers related to food insecurity and undernourishment, a report from FAO in 2010 considered the food security situation in Mozambique satisfactory. Main challenges are related not only with quantitative insufficiency but also with the diversity of food available. Food supply remains very poor in protein and micronutrient-rich foods and there are reports that Mozambique’s food supply is poorer in micronutrient-rich foods than that of the neighboring countries.

Family Farming

Agriculture is a major economic activity in Mozambique, employing over 80% of the rural population and contributing with 25% of the country’s GDP. It has nearly 36 million hectares of arable land, out of which only 5.7 million hectares are occupied by more 3.7 million small and medium farms. About 70% of all cultivated land is occupied by small farms, with average size of 2 hectares, the “machambas”. Mozambique’s main agricultural products are cassava and maize.

Main challenges faced by smallholders relate to low agricultural productivity, which can be attributed to insufficient infrastructure and support services and to the challenges to trade produce in reliable markets.  Low-yield seed varieties and traditional farming methods are the only available to smallholders, and they have few alternatives to build their income outside agriculture, which makes them particularly vulnerable in case of scarcity and natural disasters.

School Feeding


Mozambique’s National Programme on School Feeding (PRONAE) is being developed by the national government in cooperation with WFP and the Brazilian government. One of its objectives is to carry out local purchase of food from family agriculture to deliver in 12 pilot-schools selected in four provinces, thus increasing healthy food habits in children and overall child development. There are nearly 6 million kids attending primary education in Mozambique, and they are the main target for school feeding in the country. The pilot project is expected to last two years, starting February 2013. In addition to PRONAE, there are a number of international development projects aimed at school feeding in Mozambique, out of which we can highlight those fostered by WFP on school feeding transition and on project assistance.

PRONAE’s goals of contributing for the development of the local economy by purchasing food locally; promoting community’s participation in the formation years of its students; contributing for the development of agricultural production skills in students and contributing for the mitigation of food insecurity and undernourishment in short and medium term align strongly with those of PAA Africa, providing a good opportunity for dialogue and collaboration.

PAA Africa Activities


The pilot targets Angonia, Cabora Bassa and Changara districts in Tete Province. Recognizing the key role that civil society plays in promoting food security and rural development, the project fosters partnerships with farmers’ organizations and civil society organizations at the local and regional levels. The distribution of agricultural inputs and training on production systems and post-harvest handling will benefit about 600 farming households. The direct procurement of maize will provide daily meals for approximately 72 000 students in 2013, covering 174 primary schools supported by WFP.


Given the productive context in Mozambique, as well as its food security situation and the different local procurement projects that are underway in the country, PAA Africa seeks to support the local production in rural areas, aligned with its character of productive social protection, to uphold school feeding, reducing farmers’ vulnerability to external shocks and improving overall food security.

The long-term goal of the project in Mozambique is to improve food and nutrition security by promoting improved smallholder productivity and ensuring the availability of locally produced nutritious food (in this pilot, a fortified maize meal) for ongoing WFP programmes, such as school feeding. The expectation is to increase the amount of maize and beans produced by smallholders, as well as the amount purchased by WFP directly from smallholders’ organizations and at the same time to improve nutrition conditions of the most vulnerable, including children attending school.

Activities Planned



  • - Along with identified partners, select farmers’ associations and verify commodity value chain and market access problems to ensure the viability and sustainability of project interventions;

  • - Identify the best production systems and establish or develop training protocols to be applied;

  • - Conduct relevant training in production systems including conservation agriculture to support improved smallholder productivity;

  • - Establish interventions to improve storage and post-harvest handling, including provision of relevant training and model storage infrastructure;

  • - Undertake local procurement and identify constraints to inform future interventions;

  • - Engage, through training, with local authorities, government and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), technicians on food production systems and local procurementSet up mechanisms for the procurement and distribution of agricultural inputs and tools for participating farmers’ organizations.


Target Area: Changara, Cabora Bassa and Angonia Districts, Tete Province




  • - 600 households farmers

  • - 175 schools

  • - 72159 students




FAO Mozambique Country Profile

Country Profile: Human Development Indicators

World Bank Page: Mozambique

Mozambique’s profile on the Rural Poverty Portal

Our Partners in Mozambique

Purchase for Progress (P4P) projects in Mozambique

FAO list of projects in Mozambique

DFID’s work in Mozambique