H. E. Mr. Armando Emílio Guebuza, President
24 September 2008
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ARMANDO EMILIO GUEBUZA, President of Mozambique, took up the issue of the food crisis, saying it was linked to irregular rains resulting from climate change and desertification. Increased demand for cereals was another factor because it distorted the price of food. Other factors were high transportation costs due to the rising price of oil, and the decline in the agricultural sector in developing countries due to unfair subsidies used by developed countries.
The current crisis should be taken as an opportunity to boost international partnerships in the name of development, by giving developing countries the means to transform their subsistence farming systems into successful commercial agriculture systems. That could be done through improved access to better seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, “investment in infrastructure to make markets accessible” and better water management. Regional efforts should be given as much support as possible.
He said Mozambique was sensitive to fluctuations in food prices because it imported large quantities of food products. It did not have the means to commercialize its agricultural sector because its banking systems in rural areas were weak, and it did not have the technology to scale up production to levels that could meet national needs. Poor distribution systems made the problem worse. At the same time, soil erosion and depletion were making it more difficult to grow crops, contributing to Mozambique’s food insecurity. Additional resources would be needed if the country were to implement a “Green Revolution” programme, which was launched in 2007 as part of its food production action plan.
Mozambique also had its share of health problems, particularly in terms of women. An additional $4 million would be needed from now until 2010 to carry out AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programmes directed at women and children. With that money, doctors and nurses could be trained, and more mothers would gain access to health care. The United Nations was best equipped to help Mozambique meet such challenges. In that regard, structural reforms were needed within the Organization to better provide assistance to struggling nations. Indeed, international cooperation was important in helping countries secure enough affordable food, as well as to build a viable consensus for United Nations reforms.