Reducing Risks from Natural Disaster
During the last 10 years, Inhambane Province, Mozambique, has experienced a number of severe cyclones and prolonged droughts, hitting an already vulnerable population hard. These climatic shocks, together with the negative impact of HIV—which has reached an estimated 12 percent prevalence rate—have contributed to the fact that Inhambane is the poorest province in the country.
Through a program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), IRD is taking a holistic approach to the reduction of drought and cyclone vulnerability in Inhambane Province. IRD’s local agricultural experts are working with farmers to help them weather the shocks of not enough and then too much rain, encouraging the planting of drought-resistant crops like sorghum, cassava, and legumes. At the same time, IRD is helping farmers gain market access for cash crops like vegetables and processed cassava, and establish other income generating activities like beekeeping and marketing of oil seeds in order for households to enter the cash economy.
Agricultural activities are complemented by increased water supply for home and irrigation uses through improved water catchments, repaired water points using appropriate pump technology, and the installation of rooftop rainwater harvesting systems at 20 schools. Nearly 10,000 households are benefitting from this program.
Finally, IRD is working with district and provincial local government officials to develop a cyclone early warning and response plan. The plan will include community-level committees able to inform their villages as dangerous conditions approach.
The two-year program will last through May, 2011.