China-Africa agricultural cooperation brings us a better life -- China-Africa Xai-Xai agricultural cooperation project in Mozambique

Updated: November 16, 2022 Source: Belt and Road Portal
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MAPUTO, Mar. 13 (Xinhua) -- China-Africa agricultural cooperation brings us a better life -- China-Africa Xai-Xai agricultural cooperation project in Mozambique.

"My eldest son will graduate from university in one year, and I earn his tuition from Wanbao," said Milagre Abel Massingue, a 44-year-old veteran and farmer in the Xai-Xai district of Gaza province, Mozambique, who was reserved but became talkative at the mention of "Wanbao".

The "Wanbao" mentioned by Massingue is the China-Africa Xai-Xai agricultural cooperation project, which was formerly known as the Wanbao Mozambique rice farm, the largest China-Africa rice planting cooperative project. The project is invested by the China-Africa Development Fund and managed by China Railway 20th Bureau Group Corporation Limited (CR20G). It integrates rice planting, storage, processing and sales on the 20,000-hectare arable land the Mozambican government allocated for reclamation. Through cooperative planting, it drives surrounding farmers to develop 80,000 hectares of land to grow rice.

The cooperative planting aims to get local people actively involved in the whole process of rice planting, learn advanced planting techniques and sell rice to Wanbao for processing and sale after harvest.The plowing, planting and harvesting funded by the project and operated by machinery, plus agricultural inputs and technical training can ensure grain output and real benefits for local farmers.

Massingue is one of the more than 500 contractors, and is also a "modelcontractor" for the local dissemination of Chinese rice planting technology.

"I used to live in a cottage room. This concrete house was built later, and household appliances and furniture were bought with the money I earned in Wanbao," Massingue said proudly when he showed the reporter around his house.

Massingue said, he used to plant rice in a very primitive way, knew nothing about seedlings, and had no machinery and equipment, all depending on the weather. He volunteered to join the Wanbao project five years ago by contracting two hectares of land. Thereafter, he deeply felt that the grain output was as expected and his income increased.

Marta Mondlane, 59, also spoke eloquently about what she has got since joining the project. "Wanbao taught us to sow seeds, operate farm machinery, and conduct daily field management such as irrigation, drainage, fertilization and weeding, and also provided equipment to assist us in harvesting." Mondlane started with one hectare of land and has now expanded to five hectares. Last year, she earned four times what she used to earn by growing and selling vegetables, far more than the minimum wage in Mozambique's agricultural sector.

Mondlane's children are not with her. She takes care of her seven grandchildren on her income from rice planting."I got my own bank account, built a new house, paid the utility bills, and raised some chickens and ducks."

Like Massingue, Mondlane also noted that rice fields planted cooperatively can better withstand meteorological disasters. Both of them said that in the past, there was no harvest if there was a disaster, but now, Wanbao can ensure their harvest.

"In the past, the average yield of our farmers was three tonness of grain per hectare, but now the average yield in the cooperative planting field can reach seven tons or even nine tons per hectare," said Dalilo Latifo, provincial director of Agriculture and Rural Development (Gaza).The project has brought "huge" benefits to the region, most notably increased grain output and farmers' income. And in the long run, the benefits will be far greater.

Latifo said, by investing in agricultural infrastructure construction, offering training and transfer of Chinese rice planting technology, and marketing rice products, together with the unique agricultural production conditions in the Xai-Xai district, the project effectively promoted the vitality of local agricultural production and would strongly boost the agricultural development of Mozambique.

Editor: Jiang Feifan