What we do

Intervention areas

Regenerative Climate Smart Agriculture

According the to the Climate Risk Index, Mozambique is the fifth country most affected by climate change in the world. Fifty years ago, the country was hit by a cyclone around once a decade – more recently, this has risen to three per decade, with the country battered by four cyclones in the last three years alone. Rural communities – whose main livelihood means is agriculture – are the most vulnerable to these events. For over a decade we have been working on identifying, adapting, and promoting regenerative climate smart agriculture practices and technologies. These not only help farmers to prepare for and withstand climate events but also only reduce the environmental impact of agriculture (e.g., slash and burn agriculture practices, one of the main causes of deforestation in the country) and mitigate future climate change. Through our programs we offer a suite of anticipatory actions that equip farmers to face climate shocks and stresses. These actions include:
Climate Smart Agriculture is based on three principles: 1) minimum soil disturbance, 2) soil coverage, and 3) crop rotation. Aligned with these, we promote the use of minimum tillage practices such as direct planting, permanent basins and mechanical rippers. We disseminate soil coverage systems such as green manure cover crops as well as nutritional crops like pumpkins, watermelon and beans. We develop crop rotation production plans that incorporate cash and household consumption crops. Coupled with Good Agricultural Practices, the application of these principles can lead to significant yield increases and income, increased soil health and fertility, and reduced erosion.

We promote CSA mechanization technologies such as rippers, knife-rollers to minimize soil disturbance during the land preparation process. We promote improved seed varieties that are short-term, drought, and pest resistant. Like the adoption of practices, these technologies can lead to significant increases in productivity.

Weather Index Insurance
NCBA CLUSA supported Phoenix Seeds – a local seed company – and its underwriter Hollard Seguros to automatically include weather index insurance in all its product as standard, at no extra cost to the farmer. Farmers register their insurance digitally using SMS. Any Phoenix client who suffers loss of crop due to flood or drought (assessed using satellite enabled climatic data monitoring) can return to their agrodealer to claim back replacement seed free of charge

Market Systems and Inclusive Economic Development

Climate change, the fall-out from COVID-19 and the current conflict in Ukraine have created a global food security crisis of a scale not seen in recent history. Now more than ever, Mozambique needs to increase its self-sufficiency in staple foodstuffs. And smallholders – who make up the overwhelming majority of the country’s farmers – are critical to the supply base. To address this food security challenge, and so that Mozambican farmers and agricultural firms can deepen their engagement in world markets, NCBA CLUSA’s Agribusiness Unit supports local food systems by linking farmers and firms with local, regional and international markets. Click on the links below to explore how we do this.
Market-led program design

Our AgriBusiness Unit builds and nurtures market linkages between beneficiary farmers, commodity intermediaries, major commodity processors and exporters, and key support services like agrodealers, inputs firms, and financial institutions. This makes the Unit uniquely positioned to gather invaluable information on buyers’ specific quantity and quality requirements and identify the bottlenecks which block smallholders’ access to these markets.  For instance, our programs promote improved post-harvest and quality control practices – e.g., Global GAP and SMETA – which enable farmers to meet export standards; stimulate the production of food security crops for the country’s growing population; and support farmer groups to aggregate large volumes of soya and maize for the rapidly developing local animal feed industry.

Price and Markets Bulletin and smallholder commodity commercialization
With fewer than half of Mozambican famers accessing price and market information, most of them are, essentially, selling their produce in the dark – not knowing if they are receiving the going rate, or how they can maximize their profits. Our weekly Price and Markets Bulletin collects price and market related data at the administrative post level and shares it via SMS, community radio and our field extension officer. As a result, NCBA CLUSA supported farmers and farmer groups are armed with the information they need to take informed business decisions which optimize their gains, as well as encourage long term, inclusive business relationships within the local market ecosystem. Aided by this, since 2017 NCBA CLUSA supported farmers have aggregated and commercialized 13,000 tons to the value of $4 million.
Stimulating the inputs market at the last mile
We connect inputs firms with agrodealer networks and smallholders, buying down the risk for inputs firms to successfully penetrate the notoriously difficult smallholder market. Our network of 360 Last Mile Entrepreneurs (agrodealers) helps firms to overcome the long-standing challenges of high logistics and distribution costs, making it viable for them to sell smallholder appropriate products at the last mile – including totally new innovations such as weather index insured seeds. We also use these same agrodealers as the distribution mechanism for our own inputs voucher subsidy – the Green Discounts – which reduces the risk for more vulnerable farmers to experiment with yield enhancing inputs (subsidizing learning while at the same time strengthening the market system).
Financial products survey and primary research studies/publications
Through our financial products survey for the agricultural sector, we share information on all of the commercial finance, equity, grants, guarantee funds and other inclusive financial opportunities available to smallholders, MSMEs and larger agricultural firms. Similarly, our Agribusiness Unit conducts primary research in the agriculture sector, generating quantitative data to inform our decision making and program design – such as our 2021 Intermediary Survey conducted in collaboration with the University Eduardo Mondlane and Boston Carrol School of Business and subsequent academic paper regarding smallholders’ timing of marketing their produce.

Land Tenure

All land in Mozambique belongs to the state, with land tenure is based on long-term leasing and the issuing of a land title or direito de uso e aproveitamento dos terras (DUAT). The process to secure land tenure through the acquisition of a DUAT is lengthy, complicated and costly. Most farmers lack the documentation (e.g., an ID card) and the money required. As a result, less than 3% of farmers possess the legal right to occupy their land, leaving them at risk of displacement. Without a sense of land security, farmers have fewer incentives to adopt climate smart practices, pursue good stewardship of the land, and invest in productive agriculture for markets.

For more than ten years, NCBA CLUSA has worked to secure formal land tenure for rural families. This is with the aim of incentivizing smallholder investment in improved and sustainable agricultural practices, including climate smart agriculture. This initiative is harmonized with the objectives of the Government of Mozambique’s Terra Segura program, which aims to strengthen land use rights and improve access to land administration services. Over the last four years, NCBA CLUSA has worked with the Government of Mozambique to secure land use titles (DUATs) for 3,598 households in the provinces of Manica and Zambézia, thereby safeguarding over 21,00 hectares of land. To secure the land use rights for women, 42% of these DUATs were registered in women’s names, and 16% in co-title regime with their husbands.

Practical TVET

Off-farm income generation is critical to rural households’ resilience and economic growth. On average rural households having eight different sources of income generation, six which are off-farm sources, five of which are off-farm and include a multitude of small and medium scale entrepreneurial activities as well as casual and formal labor. Our programs support the rural population to develop their knowledge and skills to generate income via two tracks: entrepreneurial and jobs skills.
Entrepreneurial track
Where employment opportunities are scarce, small-scale entrepreneurism such as commerce and informal service provision (known as “biscate”) thrives. Our programs help these rural entrepreneurs – down to the micro level – grow their business and maximize their profits. We use a market diagnostic to identify the most in-demand goods and services in each community, focusing on off-farm (e.g., inputs sale, maize milling, land preparation services) and non-farm activities (e.g., bread baking, bicycle mechanics, tailors). We then partner with local training organizations and technical colleges to co-design and run short, practical courses designed to target these. With our suite of business development services including mentoring, training in business and marketing, access to finance, support to legalize activities, start-up kits and grants, graduates can quickly put their learning into practice and start generating an income.
Jobs track

All of our private sector partners report difficulties in finding staff qualified in specific practical tasks, forcing them to recruit from Maputo or neighboring Zimbabwe. Most existing TVET courses in Mozambique are long (at least six months), far from ideal for firms wishing to send staff for skills development. In addition, many are heavily theoretical and fail to equip staff with the task-specific and knowledge their employer’s demand.

NCBA CLUSA provides practical, skills-based training courses for those either already employed or seeking employment. We enter into formal partnerships with employers to diagnose their training requirements and design short, practical curriculum that match these needs. Our practical TVET courses include dorsal sprayer and boom sprayer calibration, tractor operation, and Global GAP and SMETA regulations for exports. Uniquely in Mozambique, our courses are short (with modules less than one week). For graduates not yet in employment, we complement training with internships and work experience placements.