The self declared 'Marxist-Leninist' government of President Somora Michel seems to be correcting a massive decline in Mozambique's agricultural production.
GV AND SV: tractors
SV: Chinese instructor (wearing hat on his back) showing hands how to plant maize and walking to tractor driver.
SV: Chinese instructs tractor driver.
SV: man dig weeds from field.
SV: Chinese walks back to instruct in maize planting.
SV: Malawian meteorologist checks equipment at weather station.
SV AND CU: workers cleaning and repairing tractors and engines.
TGV: Irrigation dam under construction.
SV AND CU: workers on dam with Chinese oversees watching (3 shots)
LV: Aqueduct under construction.
LV: empty irrigation canal.
GV: tractors in fields.
Even transport and communications pose a major problem. The Portuguese built systems for contact with South Africa and Rhodesia, but these are being replaced by all weather dirt roads that link with Zambia and Tanzania. Maize production fell by 60 per cent in 1974-75 forcing the government to import large quantities of food. Cotton dropped by 40 per cent and sugar by 20 per cent in the same year. But it's understood this had been corrected to a degree in 1977.
All figures used are quoted from the 'Africa Guide 1977' which was published in Saffron Walden, Essex. 1977 figures were given by the same company which will be incorporated in the 'Africa Guide 1978'.
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Background: The self declared 'Marxist-Leninist' government of President Somora Michel seems to be correcting a massive decline in Mozambique's agricultural production. After Portugal pulled out of its former colony in 1975, the people had to learn almost first hand how to cultivate their country. It proved to be a difficult task particularly after their government broke diplomatic and trade ties with neighbouring Rhodesia and South Africa. In 1976 production fell by 60 per cent forcing an increased trade deficit but latest figures seem to indicate Mozambique is on the road to recovery.
SYNOPSIS: The Matamba State Farm, according to observers in Mozambique, can be seen an example of the government's efforts to correct an alarming fall in agricultural goods.
President Machel's government brought in instructors from countries like China to advise locals how to best utilise the land. Some 88 per cent of the population is engaged in agriculture and 60 per cent of export earnings are accounted for by five commodities: cashew nuts, cotton, sugar, tea and sisal.
After Portugal left, the problem grew acute: manual labour had to give way to machinery but how was such machinery to be used.
One method of improving output was to accurately predict weather; a bitter lesson reinforced after devastating floods earlier this year. Another way was to understand the workings of the valuable machinery; how to clean and repair tractors. Once again under the watchful eye of a Chinese instructor. An ignorance that again underlines the dependence once placed on the Portuguese. Irrigation also is playing its part to increase output.
Faced with a massive trade deficit of 275 million dollars (US), there are now signs that the State Farm policy is gathering momentum. Tea production this year is expected to be up 30 per cent, sugar also has marginally improved. All signs that improved technology is working.
However three is still a long way to go before the economy can be regarded as self-sufficient.