Peanut Lab in Mozambique
Researchers in Mozambique are studying the components of groundnut production that are hindering the advancement in higher yields and better quality of peanuts. The main objectives are to strengthen local seed systems and strengthening information management systems. This will ultimately increase household food security in targeted countries.
Researchers are using molecular markers to hopefully unlock more genetic diversity. Using markers has helped gain insight into advancing genetic breeding for desired groundnut traits. Researchers hope to increase capacities for a vibrant network of peanut breeders in Eastern and Southern Africa to apply modern techniques for breeding. This all could result in new donor lines for local breeding programs.
Located in southeast Africa, Mozambique has a vast coastline along the Indian Ocean. The country gained independence from Portugal in 1975 and Portuguese remains the official language; however, half the population speaks it as a second language. Swahili, Makhhuwa, and Sena are also common languages. Its coastline separates mainland Africa from the island of Madagascar, offers some of Africa’s best natural harbors.
Mozambique’s rate of population growth is lower than that of most other African countries. The country’s infant mortality rate is among the highest in the world. Average life expectancy is among the lowest in the world. As in most African countries, Mozambique’s population is young—more than two-fifths of Mozambicans are under age 15 and almost three-fourths under 30.
Daily temperatures throughout the country average in the mid- to upper 70s °F (lower to mid-20s °C), with the highest temperatures occurring between October and February and the lowest in June and July.
There are two main seasons: wet (November-March) and dry (April-December). Average temperatures can reach as high as 31° C (87.8° F) and dropping as low as 13° C (55.4° F) in the capital city of Maputo.
Mozambique has a relatively low rainfall but receives much more rain along the coast.
The Mozambican diet relies mainly on cassava in the north and maize in the central and southern areas. Leafy green vegetables are often eaten with these staples. Other diversified foods are limited, including other vegetable sources, fruits, and meats.
Diversification, which would provide micronutrients and protein, are lacking in the diet. In fact, about 44% of children under the age of 5 are stunted.
Although agriculture employs about four-fifths of the country’s workforce, it constitutes only about one-fifth of Mozambique’s gross domestic product. Most agricultural production comes from smallholder farming operations, which produce the two staple crops of corn and cassava, as well as beans, rice, and oilseeds such as peanuts (groundnuts).
|Table Data Source||(FAOSTAT, 2013)|
Improving the yield Mozambican farmers get from their land would help the smallholder farmers’ bottom line and provide nutritious food for malnourished children.
Local Peanut Facts
- Groundnuts are the most important oilseed crop.
- An important source of fat and protein in the diet, groundnuts are added to meat products.
- Groundnuts are used in many dishes including matapa (clam and peanut stew), chiguinha, coconut curry, pumpkin curry, mshawa, canana, cowpea curry, cassava, and desserts.
- Animal feeds and forages for dairy animals come from groundnuts.