Apparently April 17 is International Farmers’ Day. This morning while working on the laptop in the back courtyard I heard singing and drums. I hurried to the front of the house to see what was going on a just caught the end of a small procession passing by the corner along one of the main roads. Margarinho said I would be able to see many more groups in the town plaza during the morning, but when I walked into the center of the town there were no signs of more signing and dancing farmers’ groups. I’m not sure where they went, but perhaps from now on I will celebrate International Farmers’ Day.
The days are passing both slowly and quickly. Yesterday I spent the morning tracking down various agri-dealers and seed companies and interviewing them about their businesses and views on gaps in the horticultural value chain.
These talks made it quite clear that laws and regulations are often hampering businesses as is the total lack of locally produced vegetable seed. For example, one agro-dealer imports vegetable seeds from Zimbabwe which are actually produced in Europe and the United States. He thought it would be more cost efficient both for him and the farmers if he purchased bulk seed, imported it from Zimbabwe, and then paid a worker to package it in Mozambique. However, in addition to the normal 2.5% agricultural duty on the seed, he would have to pay a 25% import duty plus a 17% VAT on the empty seed packets. He decided it was best to just import small prepackaged vegetable seed from the company.
As for food, the work schedule has not left much time for lengthy meals, although I have had the chance to eat Matapa twice. I’m also still searching for the best bakery in town as I have many good memories of good Portuguese-style pastries that are not too sweet. Otherwise the locally produced products I’ve been consuming are mainly drinks- plenty of Vumba bottled water and some Manica beer. The water is from Vumba, or Mist, mountain near the town of Manica,
while the beer is from the town of the same name. The bottle says it is for special export, but I keep wondering to where….
Since writing this post I’ve been able to do my own shopping at market
and have found a delicious Mozambican produced, processed and packaged product- piri piri cashews.