Since its civil war ended in 1992, Mozambique has experienced impressive economic growth. The country’s GDP has grown by more than 6.5 percent per year since 2007 (WFP 2012); despite recent global economic crises, Mozambique’s economic growth rose an impressive 7.5 percent in 2012 (World Bank 2012). Inflation reached a record low in 2012 at 1.2 percent (World Bank 2012).

In spite of this strong growth, however, Mozambique has not seen concomitant poverty reduction. It was ranked 184th of 187 on the 2011 UNDP Human Development Index and 66th out of 79 on the 2012 Global Hunger Index. An estimated 54 percent of the population lives in poverty; in rural areas, this number rises to 80 percent (IFAD 2012). The majority of the rural population lives on less than US$1 per day and lacks access to basic health, education, and sanitation services.

Small-scale agriculture is the main livelihood for most rural households and accounts for a majority of the nation’s agricultural production. Mozambique’s central and northern provinces have higher agricultural potential, more fertile soils, and more abundant rainfall than other parts of the country; these regions generally produce agricultural surpluses. The southern parts of the country are drier, with poor soils and recurring natural disasters such as floods and drought. Throughout the country, agricultural productivity is hampered by a lack of technology and services, dependence on traditional farming methods, and the use of low-yield seed varieties. Road networks are also typically in very poor condition in rural areas, limiting rural farmers’ access to markets and services.

Food insecurity in the country is widespread, with up to 25 percent of the population suffering from food insecurity at some point each year (WFP 2012). Chronic malnutrition in children under five remains alarmingly high at 44 percent (WFP 2012).