Meat processing company Cargill has announced a massive three-year partnership, in which it will invest US$1.35m, to expand farming in northern Mozambique.
The deal will see Cargill join forces with the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) to provide support for the Bilibiza Agriculture Institute (IABil), which will help enhance and expand education opportunities for farmers in the area.
Through the partnership, which is supported by Cargill’s businesses in Switzerland and Africa, Cargill will help IABil, which is the only full secondary vocational school for agriculture in the Cabo Delgado Province of Mozambique, to teach farmers new skills.
As part of the programme, up to 400 farming students will be trained each year with the IABil. Students will learn relevant technical and entrepreneurial skills. They will also share knowledge and join in with the sustainable development of the agriculture sector in Mozambique.
Cargill has also said the funding it is providing will help increase the number of teaching staff at the IABil, as well as providing critical training around the livestock and processing sectors. Students will also learn about improving infrastructure and equipment and look at how to help build a commercially operated farm to generate long-term income for the school.
Cargill business development manager in Mozambique Pieter Reichert said: “Cargill is committed to supporting our African farming communities to develop sustainable and responsible agricultural practices.
“To do this, we are working with NGOs and governments to develop public/private partnerships, as well as a sustainable market for food and agriculture. This project is a fabulous step towards strengthening the next generation of farmers in Mozambique and we are excited to have this opportunity to collaborate with both the Aga Khan Foundation and the Bilibiza Agriculture Institute.”
Faiza Janmohamed, CEO of AKF Mozambique, explained that they were extremely happy to have Cargill on-board with the partnership, which is helping to support the students of the IABil. Janmohamed said: “With our national and other international partners, including the Government of Mozambique, Cargill’s support will allow us to set a firm foundation to progressively upgrade teaching, infrastructure and management of the school. Our joint efforts to address the need for skilled smallholder farmers are timely and relevant in Mozambique, given government policies, which emphasise the importance of the smallholder sector.”
Cargill is also exploring opportunities to provide support for smallholder farmers, as well as improving domestic grain production in Mozambique. The company hopes to do this through a public or private partnership.
Reichert said: “As we continue to work with our country partners to help invest in the next generation of farmers in Mozambique, it is clear that Mozambique is a market with strong agricultural potential. As such, Cargill is considering a number of opportunities, which would not only support local farmers and agricultural development in Mozambique, but will also help establish and build up our presence on the ground.”