Leading up to independence from colonial rule in 1995, Mozambique entered into 15 years of civil war (1977-1992). The Rome Peace Accords were signed in 1992, subsequently the country began rebuilding and moving forward. Flooding in 2000 and 2001, related to a series of severe tropical cyclones, affected a quarter of the population and resulted in large-scale infrastructural damage. To compound matters, flooding was followed by a period of drought in 2002 that affected central and southern parts of the country (BBC 2010).
There are two provinces that fall into the Limpopo River basin in Mozambique, Gaza and Inhambane. There are ten districts in Gaza: Chicualacuala, Chigubo, Chokwé, Guija, Mabalane, Mabote, Mandlakazi, Massagena, Bilene and Chibuto. There are four districts in Inhambane: Funhalouro, Massinga, Panda, and Xai Xai. Population density throughout the basin is low, with the exception of the more densely populated areas around Chokwé, Massinga, Xai-Xai and Bilene (LBPTC 2010).
Agriculture - The Dominant Sector
Mozambique’s GDP was US$ 4,3 billion in 2003 and the value added by agriculture in 2002 was 23,5 % of the GDP (Aquastat 2005). Agriculture is the dominant sector in Mozambique, providing work for 80 % of the economically active population, 60 % being female. Small-holder farming, or family farming, accounts for 95 % of the land area under production. Small and medium sized commercial enterprises are an important source of employment and they supply domestic markets, the agro-industries and international markets. Export crops include cotton, cashew nuts, sugar cane, tobacco and tea.
Subsistence agriculture is practiced by almost all of the families living in the basin in Mozambique and average farm size ranges from 1,1 to 1,4 ha (LBPTC 2010). Agriculture for food crops is the dominant farming system through some small and large scale schemes can be found. In Chokwé there are large-scale irrigation schemes.
The lower Limpopo lies predominantly within Mozambique.
Source: Hatfield 2010
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The Province of Gaza- the Coastal zone and the Arid zone
The province of Gaza can be divided into two zones, defined mainly by climate: the productive coastal zone and the arid zone (Institute for Soil, Climate and Water; ARC-Institute for Agricultural Engineering 2003). The productive coastal zone (Bilene-Macia, Xai-Xai, Majacaze, Chokwé, Guija and Chibuto) has relatively fertile soils and a climate favourable to agricultural production (LBPTC 2010). Families who reside in these areas have the potential to produce between 50 and 60 % of their basic needs. Alternative sources of income, such as the sale of cash crops, working in nearby fields and remittances from South Africa, supplement the rest of their needs. The arid zone (Massagena, Chicualacuala, Chigubo, Mabalane and Massingir) is characterised by poor soils and low and irregular rainfall. Most of the agricultural production only occurs along the rivers. People living in these areas can generally meet less than half of their annual consumption needs through subsistence farming. Due to the location of these areas far from markets, alternative sources of income are scare and people are generally food-insecure (ARC-ISCW and ARC-IAE 2003; LBPTC 2010).
In most families the primary source of income comes from non-agricultural activities such as selling of firewood, wood, cane and charcoal (LBPTC 2010). In the districts of Chokwé and Xai-Xai, cattle are abundant and overall the number of livestock are increasing across the basin.
The districts of Guija, Funhalouro and Massinga have natural gas resources, though exploitation of this resource has not yet begun (LBPTC 2010). The largest planned mining project in the basin is the Chibuto heavy metals mine (Areias Pesadas de Chibuto). Overall, there is very little medium or large-scale industry in the basin.
The coastal areas of the basin are of high eco-tourism potential, but this has not yet been realised. Inland areas are covered by national parks and reserves, again with a high potential for eco-tourism (LBPTC 2010), including the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Park.
Road-side fruit and nut sellers in Mozambique, selling agricultural produce.
Source: Hatfield 2009
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