Wang Lei: Rice Planting Project Helps Mozambique Ensure Food Supply Amid Epidemic
22 Apr., 2020  |  Source:People's Daily Online  |  Hits:2885

By April 10, 1,300 hectares of rice had been harvested. (People's Daily Online)

Adelina Manhique received 150 kg of rice from a truck loaded with fresh rice parked outside the China-Africa agricultural cooperation project in Mozambique, on April 10. "Now everyone is talking about the new coronavirus. We are also worried about the food supply. Unexpectedly, before the company has settled the bill, the rice has already been distributed to us in time, which will help us face the epidemic better," she said.

Since March 2020, the novel coronavirus pneumonia spread to Africa, while the cooperation project has 2,480 hectares of rice not yet harvested. The investor and management party of the project, China-Africa Development Fund and China Railway 20th Bureau, were well prepared and made the necessary arrangements to implement the work of epidemic prevention, keeping all employees healthy.

They not only finished the production task but gave confidence to local people in fighting the epidemic.

Manhique's family has been involved in this project for five years, and this year the family planted 2 hectares of rice. Like Manhique, there are nearly 500 farmers participating in cooperative planting this year, with a total planting area of 733 hectares.

Before the outbreak in Mozambique, the project team arranged for the staff to learn the relevant knowledge of epidemic prevention in time, improving the staff's awareness of epidemic prevention and enthusiasm to cooperate with the epidemic prevention work through digital awareness campaigns. After the outbreak, the project team took careful anti-epidemic measures, implementing closed management, distributing face masks to all employees, equipping the base with cleaning and disinfection facilities, as well as strictly implementing the disinfection work and staff temperature testing, to ensure the health of employees.

Affected by the epidemic, African countries have taken measures to curb the spread of the virus. The Associated Press (AP) reported on April 15, that at least 33 African countries have closed food transportation to avoid the spread of the epidemic. With disasters such as floods, droughts, armed conflicts and locusts, food supply in Africa is facing great challenges.

In addition to these problems, the World Bank said the virus could cause "a serious food crisis in Africa. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said, "Millions of children assisted by the WFP are at risk. A few weeks after the virus spread to Africa, many schools have closed and 65 million children are currently without food."

To prevent a food crisis, the project team helped local families fight the epidemic by sharing rice they deserved in time. "If you have food in your hand, you will not panic; if you are down-to-earth, you will be jubilant."

By April 10, 1300 hectares of rice had been harvested and more than 8,000 tons of rice dried in the warehouse by the project team, so local people's livelihood could be effectively improved.

Mozambique China-Africa agricultural cooperation project is the largest rice planting project between Africa and China at present. The project is invested in by the China-Africa Development Fund, China-Portugal cooperative development fund and managed by China Railway 20th Bureau. In 2019, a total of 13,500 tons of rice were supplied to the local area, with up to 1,000 jobs created.