Climate Change: No Rain, No Production, No Food Security, Hunger is rife in Sofala


In regions where women and even children can walk as much as 18 kilometers to get water, lacking the funds for drilling a waterhole, people rely on rainfall for agricultural productivity. Lack of rain turns to be the primary catalyst for food insecurity, in the districts of Búzi, Chibabava and Machanga, where we work.

In many communities the drought and hunger became a common problem. One example of the severity of the drought is in Chironda, a neighboring community of Estaquinha. The problem of water supply is easily notable. To drill a borehole in this community it would require a huge investment, as water can only be found at a depth of around 180 meters. In Chironda, residents are forced to walk long distances for several hours to fill a 20-liter container of water in other communities, paying 5 Meticais (MZN) per container, which corresponds to 0.08 USD. In families with a large number of members, this means more water and therefore more money to spend.


Overcoming Drought: Good Agricultural Practices Help Farmer Thrive in Harsh Conditions

Despite the ongoing drought, some individuals have managed to produce crops, such as Mr. António Fernando, a resident of Djambe2, Mangunde community. He successfully cultivated his fields, although he acknowledges that this year’s yield was not as abundant as in previous years and as he expected. He feels fortunate compared to many others who were unable to produce anything. In Mangunde and other communities, many fields have dried up to the point of appearing burnt. Even sorghum and sesame, known for its resilience to the sun in these regions, failed to withstand the harsh conditions.


Severe drought in agricultural fields

According to the World Food Programme (WFP, 2021), up to 70% of Mozambicans live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for survival, and in our missions it’s not different. Farmers don’t have the capacity to install irrigation systems, so they are completely dependent on the rain, yet they told us “We can’t remember when it last rained”. The drought is visible, and hunger is already a reality.

With climate change, the situation is even more critical. The lack of rain makes farming difficult, leading many students to drop out of school due to lack of financial resources and hunger. Many end up helping their families with agricultural production or looking for ways to earn money to provide extra support for the family.


Helena Agostinho standing in her field affected by drought.

Challenges Brought by the Drought: Impact on Communities

The drought has a very negative impact on these communities known for their harmonious and peaceful coexistence, leading people to engage in unlawful activities such as theft and vandalizations, in attempt to take advantage of each other, due to lack of resources. Some cases of theft have already been reported, which is unusual in these communities. As an effect of the low productivity, hunger, and difficult economic situation, cases of Gender Based Violence tend to increase.

In various agricultural fields, such as those we observed in Machanga, the drought is evidenced by the poor development of the maize cobs and sorghum, which are usually the most produced crops. Even drought-resistant crops are being affected by the heat and water shortages in these regions.

“I’ve lost my corn, vegetables, peanuts and other crops because of the drought. I don’t know what I’m going to do to make up for this year’s hunger”, lamented Helena Agostinho, a widow and mother of six children, four of whom are minors who depend on her completely. She lives in the community of Chironda. In this community the agrarian fields are located in high areas. To reach agricultural fields in the nearby lowlands, near the mission of Estaquinha, people must walk 18 kilometres, which is impractical for the hard agricultural work that requires continuous attention. “As well as the lack of rain, we have a lot of water problems here, we have to walk 3 hours to get water from the nearest source, carrying a 20-litre drum”, added Obeti Simone Muchacato, one of Chironda’s community leaders.


Sesame affected by drought.

We couldn't produce anything...

Estaquinha, Mangunde, Barada and Machanga face the same problems. Barada is a region where the most produced crop is rice. Joaquina, founder of the Hama Badja Association said, “We can’t produce anything, because when we sowed the rice, it rained once and today the rice is burnt and won’t recover even if it rains. So now we’re going to focus on vegetable production”, trying to explain the real situation experienced in her agricultural fields, as well as that of her neighbors, with the challenges posed by climate change and drought, which are prevalent across the country.

In this article:
Climate change is causing many difficulties for families in the communities. With the extreme drought, their food security and quality of life are already compromised. Learn more in this article.
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