flag of MozambiqueMozambique has a 500-year old tradition of rice cultivation. Today, rice is seen more as a cash crop. Most of the farmers produce rice, but don’t eat it. They tend to sell 50%of the rice they produce to the urban areas where working women prefer rice because it is easier to prepare and store. IRRI was first established in Mozambique in 2006 with a mandate to increase rice production and build capacity to sustain the country’s rice industry.

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IRRI visits Mozambique

IRRI’s permanent presence in Mozambique in 2006 is significantly attributed to the country’s need to increase its rice production and to build capacity building to sustain its rice industry. IRRI-Mozambique completed its socioeconomic studies in 2007 which aided the office in deciding where to focus its efforts. The office also serves as the institute’s East and South Africa regional office.

Today, IRRI has three research and development regions in Mozambique: Maputo and Xai-xai for irrigated conditions and Quelimane for rainfed condition.

IRRI activities in Mozambique includes rice breeding, socioeconomic studies, crop production and post harvest, capacity building, information management and private sector village-based programs.

rice field in Mozambique

Current research

Breeding new rice varities tailored for Mozambique

Since 2006, IRRI has introduced more than 6,000 breeding lines of rice for irrigated and rainfed ecosystems into Mozambique to evaluate their performance locally and select the best ones for the country. By 2011, 164 lines for irrigated conditions and 26 lines for rainfed conditions were selected for further evaluation and development.

Involving farmers in choosing new rice varieties

Every season, IRRI staff in Mozambique conduct Participatory Variety Studies (PVS) where farmers are asked to help choose the best rice in a field trial. The studies take place in at least 15 locations across the country, including 8 locations that are irrigated and 7 that are rainfed. In each PVS, farmers choose which of 10 types of rice suits them best. The top selections are then further developed in IRRI’s breeding program. Involving farmers in breeding activities helps ensure new rice varieties meet their needs. It can also increase the rate of adoption of new rice varieties because farmers have already seen how well they perform.

Ensuring seeds for farmers

In partnership with Agriculture Research Institute of Mozambique (IIAM), IRRI Mozambique assists in purifying seed and multiplying the seed of existing released rice varieties in the country. In 2011, three tons of purified, breeder and foundations seeds have been produced and ready for multiplication by IIAM and ultimately distributed to the farmers.

Introducing better management practices

IRRI is establishing plots of rice across Mozambique to demonstrate to farmers best management practices ranging from land preparation to harvest. Post harvest technologies like small scale mechanization will also be introduced and demonstrated. Other technologies that will be showcased include local peddle threshers, mechanical threshers, super bags for seeds and corn weed among others, for production efficiency.

Bulding public and private partnerships

IRRI Mozambique is actively forging partnerships between public and local private companies and organizations for the benefit of better production and local communities. One example is the partnership between Palmeira Rice Mill and the three villages of Massavassi, in Chokwe district. Technical assistance is extended to farmers in these three villages from land preparation to harvest in order to increase yield to supply the demand set by the market and through the Palmeira Rice Mill.

Key achievements

Makassane, the new rice variety of Mozambique

In 2011, Makassane, the first variety of IRRI-bred rice developed especially for Mozambique was released. By the end of the year, five tons of Makassane seeds had been produced and was ready to be distributed to farmers.

Mozambique Rice Knowledge Bank (MRKB)

The MRKB is a Web site containing the best management practices for the production of rice in Mozambique. It includes the Portuguese rice manual and the 12 steps for successful rice production. It was completed in only two years and launched in 2010. It is in the Portuguese language. IIAM is fully funding and operating the MRKB.

Regional Breeding workshop

Rice breeders from 11 different countries in East and South Africa gathered in Mozambique (2008-2009) to select more than 1,500 advanced breeding lines that they see suitable for their countries. From this breeding strategy, one new variety was bred and released in Mozambique while two were released in Burundi.

Capacity building

From 2010 to 2011, IRRI Mozambique has trained 134 individuals in rice production, the Rice Knowledge Bank, rice breeding techniques, and plant pathology.

rice field in Mozambique

Mozambique’s hot to warm moist climate is suitable for rice production as it fulfills all the requirements of the crop. Rice is considered a strategic crop in Mozambique where it is expected to contribute to ensuring food security in the country. However, the rice sector in Mozambique is characterized by low productivity.

In 2007, the Mozambique government adopted the Green Revolution Strategy to increase rice productivity in the country. With this, the Strategic Plan for the Development of the Agricultural Sector (PEDSA) and the Action Plan for Food Production (PAPA) were developed to ensure food security. Both agricultural development instruments put rice on top of their agenda to phase out the gap between internal supply and demand. Both aim to eliminate the burden of imports and to alleviate poverty for more than 3.1 million people directly dependent on rice production and indirectly for the 20 million Mozambican citizens.

Since 2006, IIAM, in collaboration with IRRI, is undertaking a strong research program in the main rice research ecologies namely, Umbeluzi and Chokwe for irrigated rice and for the rain-fed lowland ecosystem in Quelimane, Maputo, Gaza, and Zambezia provinces, respectively. Today, rice is produced by small-scale farmers in many parts of the country, but also with large-scale farmers in a few places such as within the Chokwe irrigation scheme.

According to the National Rice Research and Development Strategy of Mozambique, the country’s total milled rice production in 2009 was about 157,000 metric tons. It also estimated total rice consumption at 550,000 tons with annual average import of 350,000 tons for each of the last five years.

To know more facts about rice in Mozambique, go to

Dr. Alexis NdayiragjieDr. Alexis Ndayiragjie

Rice Breeder and IRRI Representative to Mozambique

+258 2146 2508

IRRI Mozambique

Av. das FPLM 2698, recinto do IIAM
Maputo, Mozambique
Tel. 21461659



Makassane is the first rice variety bred by IRRI that has been designed especially for Mozambique consumers and farmers to ensure it suits local market needs and production conditions.

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