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Cabo Verde: Rains since September point to good harvests in 2022/2023


The prime minister of Cabo Verde, Ulísses Correia e Silva, said on Thursday that he is convinced 2022/2023 will be a good agricultural year, given the rains that since September have been seen on several islands in the archipelago, after almost four years of drought

“There will be a good agricultural year, because the technicians have already made an assessment and in places where it is not a good year, it will be a reasonable year, which means that it will have production, pasture and water,” the head of government said during a visit to the interior of Santiago island.

During a visit to agricultural fields in the municipalities of Santa Cruz, São Lourenço dos Órgãos, São Salvador do Mundo, Santa Catarina and Tarrafal, accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture and Environment, Gilberto Silva, the Prime Minister said he had seen an “encouraging scenario.

“It is a blessing that we have a green country, not only here in Santiago, but the other islands are also in the same situation and perspective of a good agricultural year between reasonable and good,” Correia e Silva said.

Although the situation is not identical across the country, he stressed that this will always be a “much better” agricultural year than the last four, of severe drought in practically the entire archipelago.

According to previous information from the Agriculture Minister, generally speaking, in terms of grain production, such as maize and beans, the situation in Cabo Verde is already guaranteed in high altitude areas, but more rain is still needed in lower areas, to allow production to finish its cycle.

Regarding the production of pasture, he pointed out, there is normal to surplus production and, in terms of the occurrence of pests, the situation is more favourable compared to previous years, due to control measures adopted in recent years.

“During all these years we have had the capacity to produce and release natural enemies of the maize cartridge caterpillar, however we need to improve and strengthen in order to produce even more,” acknowledged Gilberto Silva.

The Cabo Verdean authorities had already said last July that they expected the 2022/2023 agricultural campaign to be the rainiest in the last five years, with weather forecasts not ruling out the occurrence of extreme events.

“All the forecasts and even what you see (…), and the weather too, [are] showing that this year could be a better year, at least of the last five years,” said on 11 July the director general of Agriculture, Forestry and Livestock of Cabo Verde, Eneida Rodrigues, at the presentation of the measures to prepare for this agricultural campaign.

Cabo Verde has been experiencing a severe drought for almost four years, which has conditioned agricultural activity across most of the archipelago, a scenario that the return of rain may help to reverse in the coming months.

“We hope so,” he said, citing the latest weather forecasts from national and international authorities. “Everything points to a year, in terms of rainfall, better than last year.”

Since 2017, the country has faced successive years of drought, with a consequent reduction in agricultural production and incomes, especially in rural areas, which in turn has contributed to the deterioration of food and nutritional security of households, while there has been a reduced availability of water for public supply and irrigation.

Earlier, during a restricted Sahel and West Africa regional meeting on prevention and management of food crises, Cabo Verde’s minister of agriculture and environment, Gilberto Silva, said that recent data pointed to an estimated 107,000 people in the country suffering from food pressure and about 30,000 being in a situation of food insecurity.

Last February, the government declared a state of emergency in the country until 31 October, due to the poor results of the last agricultural year, and announced preventative and special measures.

For the 2022/2023 agricultural year, the budget of Cabo Verde’s Ministry for Agriculture and Environment includes 64.9 million escudos (€600,000) to support producers to buy seeds and measures already underway to combat and control pests.

According to the ministry, via its offshoots in municipalities and the National Institute for Agrarian Research and Development (INIDA), a total of 114,404 forest and fruit plants have been made available to farmers.

There were also 300,000 sweet potato and 2,000 manioc cuttings, 19 tonnes of imported beans for the dry season, as well as investment in an integrated fight against plagues, through the launch of natural enemies and environmentally friendly biological products, officials said.

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