The African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) has opened the doors on a fully-functioning office in Maputo, Mozambique.
So far, reaction to the new office has been positive because smallholder farmers are interested in finding more affordable ways to acquire fertilizer, which is the centerpiece of AFAP’s mission, said Sergio Ussaca, AFAP’s country manager in Mozambique.
“Accessing fertilizer for smallholder farmers in Mozambique is a matter of urgency since a large percentage of the Mozambican population depends on agriculture for subsistence,” Ussaca who runs the Maputo office said.
The new office will allow AFAP to implement missions in Mozambique, said AFAP President and CEO Jason Scarpone.
“We are pleased to announce that our office is up and running in Maputo,” he said. “We have opened our doors to working closely with agribusiness, farmers and agriculture officials in Mozambique.”
The office is located within the Polana district, an area that was specifically chosen for accessibility.
The office is currently occupied by the country manager, office assistant and is hosting a staff member from the Agricultural Marketing Development Trust (AGMARK).
Ussaca brings more than 16 years of experience as a manager and agricultural specialist in the AFAP office. Before joining AFAP, Ussaca served as a senior policy advisor for private sector development and agribusiness at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Maputo.
From the Maputo office, Ussaca’s job entails helping to provide sector access to the smallholder market for the fertilizer as well as making sure smallholder farmers access this fertilizer at an affordable cost though coordination and linkages.
“Small-scale farmers and government look at AFAP as a mechanism that will allow them to have access to fertilizers at affordable prices,” Ussaca said.
In all this the private sector has also recognized the benefit and value addition of AFAP and they are all coming forth to work with AFAP and supply fertilizer in Mozambique They all see AFAP and its partners helping them expand their fertilizer market especially with the small holder farmers.
“Agribusinesses are very enthusiastic with AFAP’s presence in Mozambique, mainly because of AFAP’s approach to reducing the cost of commercial financing and establishing linkages with major fertilizer suppliers,” Ussaca added
AFAP, a non-profit founded by a partnership of development organizations, opened its headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa in April 2012. It began work on country offices after first year funding became available in September. The Maputo office opened in November.
In addition to Mozambique, AFAP works in Ghana and Tanzania to make fertilizer accessible and affordable for African smallholder farmers. AFAP also fosters responsible fertilizer use so smallholder farmers can increase crop production and decrease food insecurity.
Richard Mkandawire, AFAP’s vice president, said that AFAP assistance aims to supplement local ideas, resources and energy.
“Millions of smallholder farmers can simply not afford access to fertilizer, which should be readily available at grassroots level,” he said.
The Mozambique Offices are located on:
Torres Altas Building
138 Jose Mateus Road, Ground Floor
P.O. Box 1218
Tel: +258 21499576
Fax: +258 21499578