Mar. 29 /CSRwire/ - Maputo, Mozambique - Hundreds of leading growers, buyers, distributors and retailers in horticulture as well as key donors and government officials have been invited to attend an investors' conference about Mozambique's emerging horticulture industry. The two-day conference is being held March 30-31, 2004, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the Joaquim Chissano Conference Centre in Maputo. An additional day (April 1) is reserved for site visits to raise awareness and capital among potential investors of the tremendous opportunities in the country, including visits to six existing operators that alone have the potential to generate US$43 million in annual revenues by 2008, directly benefiting poor rural communities and creating thousands of new jobs.
Sponsors and organizers of the "Mozambique Horticulture Investment Forum" include Mozambique's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Ministry of Trade and Industry, the World Bank Group and TechnoServe/Mozambique.
A recent industry assessment undertaken by TechnoServe/Mozambique with the support of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, revealed that Mozambique's Beira Corridor -- with 550,000 hectares of suitable land and a range of micro-climates -- holds tremendous potential for high-value horticulture. Among the findings:
Only 74,000 hectares are currently under cultivation, most by smallholders, in the Beira Corrdior. Additional investment in commercial and smallholder (family) production could generate up to US$2 billion in additional annual revenues, focusing on tropical fruit, vegetables and flowers and development of an agro-processing industry.
Six high-value horticulture farms have already been established in the Beira Corridor -- by Dutch, Mozambican, South African and Zimbabwean investors -- producing vegetables, paprika, roses, bananas, and mangos. In order to support the development of the initial 554 hectares these businesses need to expand -- and set them on a track to generate US$43 million in annual revenues by 2008 -- US$6 million of investment is required in 2004.
The Beira Corridor region is ripe for other start-ups in at least six areas: paprika, roses, hypericum and summer flowers, vegetables, large fruits estates and fruit farms. At least 5,050 hectares of these crops can be established in the short to medium term and could generate up to US$36 million in annual revenues. TechnoServe believes that the success of the six existing companies will spur additional investment in these areas.
Investors will play a key role in the region's development, especially those already active in other Africa countries who will bring the management expertise, market access and capacity-building that is so critical. For the region to fully develop its potential, however, significant investment is required -- quickly. The primary and most pressing constraints are lack of infrastructure (primarily roads and power supply) and inability to secure financing. TechnoServe recommends that the 140 kilometers between Beira and Inchope be upgraded; that a US$30 million loan facility be established to support between 12 and 22 horticulture initiatives per year; and that significant investment is made in capacity-building programs to increase the productivity of managers, technical and field staff. In total, a minimum US$90 million investment to put the right infrastructure, financing and work force in place. TechnoServe has proposed a road map outlining the most important activities to be undertaken by each player and recommends that these initiatives be undertaken within the next 12 to 18 months.
"Urgent collaboration among all stakeholders is key to realizing the region's enormous potential," said Jake Walter, TechnoServe/Mozambique Country Director. "The Beira Corridor will not be developed by a single donor or investor. It requires the private sector, the non-profit community, the donor community and the government of Mozambique to act now and together to address these most urgent needs. Through this investors' forum, we hope to bring these key stakeholders together and launch many of the initiatives outlined in the road map and in TechnoServe's report."
For more information about the "Mozambique Horticulture Investment Forum"
Carlos Moamba, TechnoServe/Mozambique, +258-1-419-924 (phone),
from March 30 - April 1, 2004, please contact:
+258-1-416-049 (fax), email@example.com
Victoria Daniel Paulo, Center for Promotion of Investment, +248-1-322-457 (phone), +258-1-313-325 (fax), firstname.lastname@example.org
For general information about TechnoServe please contact:
Mara Neville, TechnoServe/US, +203-899-3154, email@example.com