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Communities harness the power of collective action in Mozambique

On a sunny day in Cabo Delgado, light gleams off the trees shading Muripa Intupo. Muripa tends to his goats, placing large branches of leaves in the pen for them to feast upon. As a member of a local farmers' association, Muripa has taken the lead in caring for the group's livestock.

He does this in good company when his son has a moment to spare. "My son helps to raise the goats and has taken the others out to graze now," he said proudly.

Goats reap many benefits for Muripa and his community. Not only do they provide a stable source of nutrition through their meat and milk. They can also be sold for nearly USD 55 each on the local market. The farmers' association also serves as a space to better capitalize on these market demands and help farmers build wealth. Here, farmers can bolster their collective bargaining power, market linkages, and financial leverages, as well as access vital resources, like breeding stock, veterinary services, and improved feed.

However, over six years of violence and extreme weather events in Cabo Delgado have disrupted food chains and led to mass displacement. Smallscale farmers reliant on agriculture for their livelihoods represent more than 80 percent of Cabo Delgado's inhabitants. These events took a tremendous toll on their safety, nutrition and earning power, and left over 690 000 people in conflict-affected areas facing high levels of acute food insecurity.

But this farmers' association would not be overcome. They knew their association would be a valuable recovery tool. And in the face of surmounting challenges, they band together to harness the power of their collective efforts. Their decision? To jointly breed goats that they received from FAO to increase their goat flock size faster.

Thanks to the support from the Government of the United States of America, FAO supported Muripa's local farmers' association with ten goats (eight females and two males), as well as 24 chickens. FAO also supported community vaccinators with training and bicycles to improve the delivery of animal health services to communities more broadly.

Alongside his other duties, Muripa took charge of goat breeding. But this big responsibility did not come without challenges. Soon after he received the goats, one was stolen. Without letting the setback get him down, he continued his work.

"When the goats go to feed, other pastoralists with goats let them feed in the same field at the same time. We hope they can mate more frequently," he explained. He then pointed to two pregnant goats, "They will both be giving birth soon. You can tell they are very close [as mothers]."

Muripa saw the benefits of his efforts when the goats had their first litter of five. One step closer to the association's goal to ensure each of the 18 members have two goats.

"I'm proud to see how FAO supported this association. With funding for FAO's Agriculture Livelihoods Response Plan for the northern Mozambique crisis, community members could determine their needs, which fosters long-term change," says Reine Anani, FAO's Emergency and Resilience Coordinator and Head of the Pemba Field Office.

"These efforts serve all members, helping to address household nutrition and income needs. The association's work towards these goals is admirable," she emphasized. "Goat rearing plays an important role in strengthening food security and resilience, and together, we can achieve this to set a foundation for a strong future."


Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
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