Mozambique won't be Mato Grosso
Publisher: Le Monde diplomatique
Date Written: 01/06/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23210
A popular movement centred on a small farming village in northern Mozambique has, for the moment, halted an attempt to move to cash-crop monocultures mainly for export.
In the Mozambican village of Nakarari, deep in the bush of the Mutuali district, 2,000km north of Maputo, 40 villagers were meeting under a mango tree; children played around them, jumping with excitement whenever a fruit dropped. The villagers were hoping that a popular movement centred on Nakarari had dealt a fatal blow to Africa's biggest agro-industrial programme, ProSavana.
This meeting was the latest in a long series. Village secretary Agostinho Mocernea, whose sun-baked face and calloused hands showed he had spent many years working the land, was adamant: 'I still say we cant trust the government. We must continue to say no.' He handed the meeting over to the representatives of small farmers' associations who were visiting from neighbouring towns. Dionísio Mepoteia, 40, of the national farmers' union UNAC, said: 'The government is at an impasse. We have won a historic victory. We have prevented the pillage of our land, and reasserted that it belongs exclusively to us, to the people who have farmed it for generations. It is only because we are united that we achieved this. We must remain united.' Mepoteia regularly tours rural communities to keep them up to date with developments in the city, as in this part of Mozambique, the Internet is non-existent, and mobile phone coverage is patchy.