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Teaming Up to Aid Mozambique


A farmer holds seeds at his family farm in Bunceton, Minnesota (File)

The United States and Brazil are joining forces in a joint development program that brings together the best agricultural research from both nations and extends that expertise to aid a third country.

The United States and Brazil are joining forces in a joint development program that brings together the best agricultural research from both nations and extends that expertise to aid a third country. The first project, in what is hoped will be a model of cooperation, aims to teach farmers half way around the world in Mozambique how to grow and sell more vegetables.

Despite abundant fertile land, particularly in the southern part of the country, Mozambique imports most of its food. Low yielding farm practices and the high cost of transportation hinder greater agricultural production, a situation U.S. and Brazil will team up to address. Beginning in May, American agricultural experts working with the U.S. Agency for International Development and Embrapa, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, will start to train Mozambican farmers and agricultural specialists in improved production, post-harvest handling and marketing methods.

They in turn will share what they have learned with small scale farmers in Southern Mozambique, close to the capital Maputo, the country's largest market. The U.S. and Brazilian advisers will also work with Mozambique's schools to encourage them to serve more locally grown food in their meal programs, improving the quality of food served to students and developing another market for the country's farmers.

The United States and Brazil already cooperate closely on wide range of issues, and the Mozambican agricultural aid initiative will strengthen these ties. We are also strong trading partners, doing more than $80 billion in business each year. President Barack Obama highlighted this relationship with a visit to Brazil March 19.

Mozambique is one of the countries targeted for assistance under Feed the Future, the new U.S. initiative to help countries fight hunger. We are looking to Brazil to be a strategic partner in that effort.

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