Many families in Mozambique store their grains in badly sealed earthenware pots in trees or in their home during the long dry season. This has disastrous consequences as insects and rodents devour nearly half of the crop in storage. People often have no choice but to eat the grain they had set aside as seed for the next crop in an attempt to escape hunger. This means that they are unable to plant the next crop at the start of the next season and the vicious cycle continues.
Simple and cheap storage facilities can be built from woven bamboo plastered with clay. This protects the precious grains from pests, and the family can make it through the annual dry season without going hungry. There can even be some maize or beans left over which can be sold in the market, providing valuable cash for children’s school fees or for medicines.
HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation helps small-scale farmers in Mozambique to build storage facilities. We train families to cultivate, harvest and store staple crops, while also providing seeds of improved varieties with a shorter vegetative period. As the farmers pass on what they have learnt to other families, the idea of the simple storage facilities continues to spread.