New Opportunities Take Root in Mozambique

Achissalia Alifa found her first formal job in 2010. The 35-year-old mother of five was part of the first team recruited to work at the tree nursery of the Green Resources forestry company in Mozambique’s Nampula province.

Through her job, Achissalia has learned technical skills around planting and selecting tree seedlings, as well as the sense of responsibility and teamwork that comes from being part of a formal workplace. And her income is improving her family’s standard of living.

“With my salary, we built a new house with bricks and a zinc roof. I also have money to pay people to help on my farm,” Achissalia said. “Before I started work, this was impossible.”

TechnoServe is working to support this type of transformation for thousands of Mozambicans through the Agro-Forestry Village Program, supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under Food for Progress. The program aims to develop a competitive and environmentally sustainable plantation forestry sector that will act as a catalyst for rural development.

Nearly 80 percent of Mozambicans live on less than $2 a day. In rural Mozambique, there are few opportunities for employment, and most households survive through small-scale or subsistence farming. Slash-and-burn farming practices are widespread, resulting in depleted soil and deforestation.

The Agro-Forestry Village Program is demonstrating a more environmentally and economically sustainable path for rural communities. In addition to developing the forestry industry, TechnoServe aims to transform 10,000 subsistence farmers into commercial farmers, promote investment in the grain and poultry industries and develop the capacity of local governments to drive economic development.

In partnership with seven forestry companies, we are working to change land-use patterns. New plantations are being established on degraded, abandoned farmlands and companies are assisting communities to develop more sustainable agricultural practices. By integrating agriculture and forestry, we are promoting approaches to farming that improve the soil and mitigate the effects of perpetual land burning.

The growing forestry industry is spurring the creation of new small businesses to support the sector. People like Achissalia now have the opportunity to find wage-paying work in nurseries, in saw and pulp mills, and in the construction of dams and other industry-related infrastructure.

The Agro-Forestry Village Program aims to create 5,000 jobs in the forestry, poultry and grain-processing industries, while transforming 10,000 subsistence plots into commercially-oriented farms growing crops such as soybeans, corn and groundnuts. In total, the program aims to break the cycle of poverty for roughly 60,000 workers, farmers and their family members.

Our broader vision is that by 2050, about 7.4 million acres of Northern and Central Mozambique will be home to globally competitive clusters of forest plantations, forest conservation areas, smallholder grain and livestock farms, and processing companies, employing 300,000 people in the forestry sector and purchasing products from 300,000 small family farms.