By Aparajita Gupta, New Delhi, March 11 IANS | 4 months ago

Mozambique Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco Tuesday praised India for its "non-interfering stand" while providing lines of credit meant for the development of his country's agriculture and infrastructure sectors.


"India does not impose anything on us while granting the line of credit. India respects the priorities of our government," Pacheco said.

"The inflow of lines of credit has helped people in rural areas and now they have access to water and electricity."

He said the lines of credit received from India were directed at development of energy, infrastructure, roads and agriculture, especially in improving laboratory capacity and seed production," Pacheco told IANS in an interview.

India had offered credit assistance of $500 million to Mozambique during the state visit of President Amando Guebuza to India in 2010. India has provided Mozambique a total of over $600 million over the last four-five years, out of which 10 percent has gone to agriculture.

The Southeast African country with six million hectares of arable land is keen to develop research activities in agriculture field so that crop production increases in the coming days, he said.

"We have around 300 agriculture researchers now and we want to take it up to 6,000. These research works are based on plant breeding," Pacheco said.

Out of its six million hectares of arable land, the country only uses 15 percent. Pacheco said the country has huge tracts of unused land due to various reasons - chiefly lack of technology, finance and human capacity.

Mozambique has two kinds of crops - food crops and cash crops. Rice, maize, fruit and vegetables come under the food crop category, while cashew nut, cotton and banana are categorised as cash crops.

"With electrification in rural Mozambique, a new range of industries, like agro-processing industry, is in place. Now Mozambique even exports food grains and we are exporting around 60,000 tonnes of pulses. We export pulses to India as well.

"We have started exporting non-traditional crops like maize and banana," he said.

(Posted on 11-03-2014)