Developing Local Extension Capacity


Extract of a study by the The Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) project led by Digital Green, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Care International and GFRAS.

Mozambique became independent from Portugal in 1975 after about a decade of colonial war. The transition of power to Mozambicans was all, but smooth. When the Portuguese left Mozambique after independence, the social and economic status of most of the population was very low. For example, illiteracy rates were extremely high, and there were very few Mozambicans with formal education. This trend, unfortunately, continues today with the average rural household head having only four years of formal education as of 2015. The country made ties with and received a lot of economic and military support from the USSR and Eastern Bloc Countries on condition of becoming a socialist country. The one-party state that resulted because of the assistance from the communist bloc of countries sparked protests within Mozambique, resulting in a civil war that erupted a year after independence that ended with the peace accords signed in 1992.

In the process of peace talks, development aid and support started coming from the West in 1989. Prior to this, only emergency food aid had been provided. In 1987, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanded that the country adopt a structural adjustment program to liberalize the economy as a condition of their support. Privatization of previously stateowned companies followed and the economy became more market-oriented.

To address the rural poverty so prevalent following independence, Mozambique implemented two poverty reduction strategies, the first from 2001 to 2005 and the second from 2005 to 2009. Since then, Mozambique has drafted and implemented various other agricultural strategy documents, each building on previous ones, such as Revolução Verde (Green Revolution), Strategic Plan for the Development of the Agricultural Sector (PEDSA, for its Portuguese acronym), National Plan for Investment in Agricultural Sector (PNISA, for its Portuguese acronym), Operational Plan for Agricultural Development (PODA, for its Portuguese acronym) and Operational Plan for Agricultural Marketing (POCA, for its Portuguese acronym), just to name a few. These poverty reduction strategies were implemented with the idea that the macro-economic reforms changing a controlled economy to a market-based one would lead to economic growth that would trickle down to the poor and lift them out of poverty. Mozambique has enjoyed solid economic growth since these strategies have been adopted, but how successful these strategies have been for those in rural areas is open for debate.

Unfortunately, after more than two decades of peace, the country has fallen back to armed conflict, and this has had a significantly negative effect on the economy since 2013. Traffic on the main highway, Estrada Nacional #1, linking Maputo to the rest of the country, and a few other highways were only passable twice a day with escorts provide by the army. Also, during this resurgence of violence, many schools were closed and households displaced, especially in the central provinces of Sofala, Manica, Tete and Zambézia, thus having an impact on economic activities in these areas. In April 2017, the country’s ruling party Mozambique Liberation Party (FRELIMO, for its Portuguese acronym) and Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO, for its Portuguese acronym) agreed to uphold a peace accord indefinitely, so all armed conflict has ceased, thus allowing for the return to normal economic activities and life that was there before the return of armed conflict in 2013. But there are no guarantees that this peace will last and the possibility continues to exist of REMANO taking up arms again.

An additional predicament is that a total of USD $2 billion of debt was hidden from the donor community and the public in general, and was discovered in April 2016 when the government admitted this to the IMF. This action is not only illegal, but has led to donors cutting development funds until the results of an independent audit, that was completed in April 2017, are disclosed. At present the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and many other government institutions are negatively affected by this hidden debt, and as a result have reduced their development activities. This discovery has also led to the Mozambican currency, the meticais, being devalued by 45 percent since the start of this crisis, leading to rampant inflation.

Full study:


World Wide Extension Study


The Worldwide Extension Study WWES provided empirical data on the human and financial resources of agricultural extension and advisory systems worldwide. The programme ran from 2009-2012 and was funded by USAID and managed by IFPRI in partnership with FAO (along with DAAS and CIRAD) and IICA.

Prior to independence in 1975 agricultural extension in Mozambique was completely focused on commercial and export cash crop production. The long 16 years of civil war and recurrent drought in the interlands increased migration of population to urban and coastal areas, and also contributed to the degradation of the environment. These destabilizing conditions made it difficult for the government of Mozambique to establish and operate an agricultural extension service network (Gemo & Rivera, 2001). It wasn’t until 1987 that the public extension service in Mozambique was created as one of the four national directorates of the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG). During its initial phase of development (1989-1992) extension was entirely carried out by the public sector with assistance from international NGOs (Ibis a Danish NGO, GTZ), and the United Nations agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). This establishment phase was characterized by the introduction of the Training and Visit (T&V) approach in few areas around the country (Alage & Nhancale, 2010).


A Brief History of Public Extension Policies, Resources and Advisory Activities

The expansion phase of agricultural extension (1993-1997) saw the introduction of a modified Training and Visit extension system; a flexible use of the approach; and an extensive donor support for public and NGO extension that leads to the diversification of extension service providers. In response to the emerging new extension landscape, a National Extension Master Plan (1999-2004) to allow for a pluralistic extension system was developed to focus on the adoption of Unified Extension Services (SUE) encompassing crop production, livestock and natural resource management, and the development of an integrated National Agricultural Extension System (SISNE) with partnership between public and private extension services including outsourcing. The current master plan (2007-2016) been implemented is designed to ensure adoption of decentralization of agricultural extension services to district level, strengthening of a multiple service provider system, and farmer empowerment and outsourcing services (Alage & Nhancale, 2010 and Gemo & Rivera, 2001). The public extension network covers 127 of 128 rural districts, NGOs are present in 91 rural districts, while 50 districts have private extension, but all 128 districts are covered by one or other provider.

The long term goals of the agricultural sector in Mozambique are to improve food security and reduce poverty by supporting the efforts of smallholders, the private sector and governmental and nongovernmental agencies to increase agricultural productivity, agro-processing and marketing, while keeping a sustainable path for the exploitation of natural resources (MADER, 2005). To address food security issues and agricultural productivity, MINAG, through the National Directorate for Agricultural Extension (DNEA) and Provincial Agricultural Extension Services (SPER) has created a good environment to increase the exchange of information and experience among the stakeholders. DNEA is actively involved in the dissemination of agrairian technologies, support and capacity building for farmers’ organizations, technical assistance to the farmers through training on good agricultural practices, formation and capacity building of farmers, and dissemination of information through various Information Communication Technologies (radio, leaflets, and manuals).

Mozambique public extension service has been characterized by great variability in terms of availability of extensionists. But the trend since 2006 has been in the rise with 693 extensionists in 2009 (11% of which were female) compared to 645 in 2005. Due to efforts under a human resource development program training and recruitment of new personnel, more than 95% of the extensionists in 2009 almost are certificate and 4% are BSc. The figure in qualification of the extensionists is a big jump if compared with 2005 when the qualifications varied from a first degree (4%), diploma (59%), and certificate (32%) to others (5%) (Gemo, 2006). Government efforts to increase the number and quality of extension staff  evident and the National Directorate for Agricultural Extension reported that in 2011 Mozambique  public extension comprise 1,342 staff members (Table 1), a considerable increase from a total of 1,252 planed on EMP.

Table 1: Human Resources in the Public Extension Service in Mozambique: Qualification Level and Number of staff in 2010.

Academic Level of Extensionists and Supervisors


Tecnico Superior

Tecnico Medio

Tecnico Basico

Tecnico Elementar


INCAJU (Cashew)

C Maputo































































C. Delgado





















Academic Level (%)






Source: Direçåo Nacional de Extenså Agraria, DNEA, Via Walter Bowen, persona communication, April 2011

Extension Providers

Major Institutions Providing Extension/Advisory Services in the Country

Public Sector

The public sector is represented by the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG) and its various directorates including the National Directorate for Agricultural Extension (DNEA), the University of Eduardo Mondiane and other education and research institutions around the country. These institutions provide extension services through various departments councils and institutes some of which are listed below:

  • Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG)  
    • National Directorate for Agricultural Extension (DNEA)
  • Ministry of Fisheries 
    • Instituto Nacional de Investigação Pesqueira (IIP)

Public Research and Education Institutions

Private Sector Firms

Mozambique is committed to an institutionally diversified form of extension with both public and private sector providers working to disseminate agricultural information to farmers. The government plan in outsourcing extension to the private sector is that over time the private sector would replace public extension and cost sharing would reduce total government expenditure on extension. Historically, the private sector has always partnered with the government institutions to bring innovative techniques to farmers. The sector’s provision of extension and advisory services is noticeable in the areas of input supply; contract to provide technical advises to farmers associations and cooperatives; organizing farmers groups to facilitate export of commercial crops. In Mozambique, the Joint Venture Companies (JVCs) for example carry out purely commodity extension (e.g. for cotton, tobacco, and cashew). They provide input such as seeds, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, and technical advice to farmers. In addition, they will provide complementary informational extension services to promote the product, to ensure the product’s proper use and preserve the firm’s market share. Agro-processing and marketing firms also provide extension services to reduce agricultural input supply risk (Gemo and Rivera, 2001).

 Non-Governmental Organizations and other Donors

In Mozambique, NGOs represent important actors both politically and economically capable of conditioning development. The number of NGOs has increased since the 1990s, a period during which the vast majority of Mozambican NGOs were established. According to DNEA (2007), the number of NGOs operating in agricultural extension increased from 42 in 1999 to 89 in 2006. Although less sophisticated than international NGOs, local NGOs are gaining in importance because they are now becoming involved in the development process of the country as primary actors. From a financial point of view, Mozambican NGOs operate thanks to a variety of economic sources. The major sources include: International non-Governmental Organizations, International Organizations, Foreign Agencies for Cooperation, and various foundations. The main NGO’s contributions to the SISNE is through increased geographic coverage and number of farmers reached; promotion participatory learning approaches; formation of farmer and community groups; and promotion of best practices (food security, farmer organizations, market support and agricultural advocacy) (Gemo et al 2004) from Alage & Nhancale (2010). Some of the NGOs working directly in the agricultural sector and local extension services include:

  • CLUSA- the Cooperative League of the USA
  • Programa de Promoçåo de Mercados Rurais (PROMER)
  • International Development Enterprises (IDE)
  • World Vision
  • Food for the Hungry International (Geneva-based NGO)
  • ABIODES (Association for Sustainable Development)
  • Food for the Hungry International (Geneva-based NGO)
  • Kwaedza Simukai Manica (local NGO)

Farmer Based Organizations and Cooperatives

In Mozambique, the agricultural sector is made up of a large number of smallholder farmers, who are the main beneficiaries of public extension services. These smallholder farmers, usually disadvantaged in accessing inputs, extension services and markets for produce, have the tradition of organizing in groups of interest, associations and cooperatives. Many of the associative groups in the country are of a social nature, for instance for managing peak labor demands, credit and savings associations and community development activities; others have an economic nature, for example for input supply and produce marketing. However, it is important to distinguish between non-profit and for-profit farmer entities. For-profit farmer organizations are usually supported by NGOs or donors who provide all the capital needed to run the group. When there is no costs to become a member, the members do not automatically have an equity share, in other words, they do not own the organization (Bachke, 2009). These farmers organizations have been define by some critics as public goods in Mozambique. 

There are thousands of smallholder farmers in the provinces of Cabo-Delgado, Nampula,  Manica and Tete who are organized in both informal and formal groups (or associations) around commodity extension activities. However, only 6.5 percent of Mozambique’s smallholder farmers belong to farmer organizations although some districts (Nampula, Zambezia, Manica) have much higher participation rates. These farmers receive inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides on credit and sell their produce of cash crops (e.g., cotton, tobacco, and sunflower) to the Joint Venture Companies (JVCs) or other enterprises that provide these inputs along with technical advice. This commodity extension (or technology transfer) occurs through contractual relationships between enterprises and farmer groups (Gemo and Rivera, 2001). Farmers associations are clustered into nuclei of associations or network that form unions and cooperative. Some of these associatopns and unions are listed below.

  • União Nacional de Camponeses - National Farmers Union, (UNAC)
  • Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Marracuene (UCAM)
  • Union of Associations and Cooperatives of Lichinga (UCA)
  • Ncachelenga Women’s Association,
  • Union of Cooperatives and Associations of Southern Niassa (UCASNE)

List of Extension Providers

icon target The following list shows an excerpt from the GFRAS Directory of Extension Providers for Mozambique. Some of these entries may be specially marked for having more detailed information in the database of the Worldwide Extension Study WWES.

Enabling Environment

Enabling Environment

Mozambique is blessed with an abundant endowment of land, water and sun. It also has an advantageous location relative to regional markets and sea routes to Asia and Europe; an abundance of low-cost labor; and a variety of climatic zones providing favorable growing conditions and market timing for many types of products. The long term goals of the agricultural sector are to improve food security and reduce poverty by supporting the efforts of smallholders and other partners to increase productivity. Paramount to the changes in the sector is the reform of the extension system and the promotion of a new extension parading based on diversification of services, farmers’ empowerment and improved outreach to women and marginal farmers. The MINAG, through the DNEA and Provincial Agricultural Extension Services, SPER, has created a good environment to increase the exchange of information and experience among the stakeholders.

The extension services at central, provincial and district level have organized a number of meetings with NGOs and private firms to coordinate the activities of MINAG and partner organizations. All stakeholders are invited to the annual national meeting of extension, which is held in an elected province. Yet the degree of collaboration and coordination of activities varies from province to province, and the relationship between research and extension both institutionally and technologically is still weak. Recruitment and training of extension staff and farmers on technical production skills as well as consolidation of farmers group are required. To ensure that services are delivered to grassroots smallholders, civil society and NGOs must be closely aligned with agricultural development programs. At the district and provincial levels they should be involved in identifying and planning development programs. Government administration cannot be everywhere and hence in such a large country it is all the more important for these organizations to be involved. Establishing clear ties with private companies and NGOs involved in providing extension services, and strengthening the rural extension networks through outsourcing are necessary steps to be taken (Alage & Nhancale, 2010). Local NGOs need to be strengthened so that when international organizations depart the capacity exists to mobilize communities, ensure that people are heard, and hold the Government accountable.


 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Agriculture and Extension

The government of Mozambique has a national policy and strategy, which lays down the national vision of how and what ICT can develop and contribute to the general development of the country. In the agricultural sector, different formal mechanisms have been created for coordination between research, and extension providers, farmers and other local stakeholders on the demand for and availability of technology.  A very dynamic and well known information and communication system has been established called SIMA (Agriculture Market Information System -Sistema de Informação de Mercados Agricolas=SIMA). SIMA is responsible for providing data on agricultural prices of the main crops cultivated in the country, input supply and seed availability. Information on production and demand estimates is also provided. The system is supported by updating studies conducted by NARS and Policy Units of the Ministry of Agriculture, on market dynamics of the main agricultural products, at both national and regional level. 

MORENET: "This is an initiative that aims at establishing effective and efficient connectivity
systems among Universities and Research Institutions. Morenet provides technological solutions that will enable the science, technology and innovation system in Mozambique, particularly the Universities and the research institutes to link to each other’s both at a national as an international level. Morenet is still in its inception phase but is a promising mechanism to improve the present situation for information and knowledge sharing among research institutions."

 Another ICT tool in used is the Virtual Museums for Agricultural Products:
"This is an initiative of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MS&T), aiming at providing information on different agricultural products with economic relevance. The portal presents useful information for agricultural students, teachers, private sector in the market of cashew nuts and sugar, NGO’s, farmer’s associations, and aims to provide in near future a platform for interaction among the stakeholders of these sub-sectors." Other Means of dissemination of agricultural extension services comprises of a monthly Bulletin Quente-Quente, community radio broadcasting and there is also access through mobile cell phones. Access and use has been proved to be widely spread at community level. The 2009 World Bank statistics report indicated that 26.1 percent of the population of Mozambique own and operate a mobile phone. Internet usage is spreading out and agricultural extension system is using the technology to reach farmers. In Mozambique, only 2.7 percent of the population had access to internet in 2009. Innovative ICT based approaches that utilize internet connection have the advantage of providing advice to farmers on-line and mobile phones help farmers’ access information instantly via SMS.


Training for Extension Professionals

Training agricultural professional increases the skills of extension staff in the field, and the lack of continuing education opportunities could constitute a drawback to agricultural extension agents’ performance. The Agricultural Research Institute of Mozambique (IIAM) and the National Directorate for Agricultural Extension (DNEA), both institutions of the Ministry of Agriculture, are the main institutions in Mozambique responsible for generating, packaging, and disseminate information on improved agricultural technologies, services and products to enhance farmers productivity and access to markets. However both institutions lack adequate equipment (ICT infrastructure) and human resources capacity to deliver services to the clientele. Mozambique faces many of the same quantity/quality challenges in agricultural extension personnel as many other African countries. The government has sought to increase access to Agricultural Education Training (AET) by expanding enrollment and establishing new institutes in the provinces closer to rural areas, by changing the entry and exit point and, and by changing the duration of programs (Davis et al.2007). Furthermore, Rivera (2006) cited in Davis et al. (2007) “recommends several similar reforms with an emphasis on improving incentives for human capital development and intensifying linkage-building efforts. Specific proposals include extending the region’s AET emphasis on formal degree courses to also include greater informal education (in-service, non-formal, and continuing education) for the agricultural workforce at all levels, and integrating AET into a “workforce education system” that brings together both public and private players in a knowledge-support system catalyzed by government incentives to promote greater innovation in agriculture”. 


Statistical Indicators

Mozambique                                                                                                              Year

Agricultural land (sq km)



Agricultural land (% of land area)



Arable land (hectares)



Arable land (% of land area)



Arable land (hectares per person)



Fertilizer consumption (per ha of arable land)



Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)



Food production index (1999-2001 = 100)



Food exports (% of merchandise exports)



Food imports (% of merchandise imports)



GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)



Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)*



Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)



Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)



Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)



Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)









Internet users (per 100 people)









Population, total



Population density (people per sq. km of land area)



Rural population



Rural population (% of total population)



Agricultural population* 



Agricultural population (% of total population)*



Total economically active population in Agriculture*



Total economically active population in Agriculture (in % of total economically active population)*



Female economically active population in Agriculture (% of total active in agriculture)*



Source: The World Bank, *Food and Agriculture Organization FAO



Alage, A. and I. Nhancale. 2010. An Overview of Public Extension Services in Mozambique. In Towards Improving Agricultural Extension Service Delivery in the SADC Region. Proceedings of the Workshop on Information Sharing among Extension Players in the SADC Region. 26 – 28 July 2010. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Edited by: Kimaro W.H, Mukandiwa L and Mario E.Z.J. Retrieved on November 1, 2011 from 

Bachke, M.E. (2009). Are farmers’ organizations a good tool to improve small-scale farmers’ welfare? II Conferencia do IESE “Dinamicas da Pobreza e Padrões de Acumulação em Moçambique”, Maputo, 22 e 23 de Abril de 2009. Retrieve on December 20, 2011 from:

Davis,K., J. Ekboir, W. Mekasha, C.M.O. Ochieng, D.J. Spielman  and E Zerfu. (2007). Strengthening Agricultural Education and Training in Sub-Saharan Africa from an Innovation Systems Perspective: Case Studies of Ethiopia and Mozambique. IFPRI Discussion Paper 00736. Retrieved on 12/21/2011from:

DENEA. (2007). Extension Master Plan. 2007-20016. Maputo. Mozambique Gemo, H, and W. M. Rivera. (2001). Mozambique’s move towards a pluralistic national system of rural extension. Agricultural Research & Extension Network (AgREN). Network Paper No.110  January 2001. Retrieved on November 1, 2011 from:

MADER. (2005). Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Vision. Maputo. Mozambique