Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

Maputo — The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) argues that food aid for the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by terrorism in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado is not enough, and they must be helped to resume their life as farmers.

Interviewed by AIM on Thursday, Patrice Talla, the FAO Subregional Coordinator for southern Africa, said that, at the current pace of food requirements, the UN system “cannot keep this up for a long time. We need to look, with the government, at long term solutions”.

Talla was on a UN regional delegation that has recently visited Cabo Delgado to show solidarity with the province, and particularly with the displaced people, who now number about 560,000. The delegation visited resettlement areas for the displaced in Ancuabe and Chiure districts.

“The displaced are suffering from food insecurity. They want to produce as soon as possible”, Talla said. About 80 per cent of the displaced used to be farmers, and so it was a question of providing them with land and with agricultural inputs. There is some urgency, since the rainy season has already begun.

FAO has raised funds for seeds and tools for about 20,000 Cabo Delgado households (around 100,000 people) so far. The crops to be concentrated on in the main growing season are maize and beans, and the priorities will switch to vegetable in the second season.

Talla added that FAO has also been providing live chickens for the displaced. “Livestock is an important activity for them”, he said.

He stressed the need to support, not only the displaced, but also the host communities. “The priority is the displaced, but we also think it urgent to assist the local communities, who have been very supportive”.

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