Destroyed: Maria Nguila stands among her decimated cassava crops
The full-time farmer is still reeling from the damage the tropical storm wreaked on her land
Maria Nguila is devastated. The 57-year-old farmer from Vilankulo in Inhambane province, Mozambique watched as Cyclone Freddy decimated her crops last week.
The heavy rains caused flooding; waterlogging her groundnut and sweet potato crops in the muddy earth and drowning her maize. Her cassava stalks cracked and toppled over in the fierce winds.
Although she has managed to salvage some of the produce, but it will not be enough to sustain her family and her 11 employees.
Life before the floods
“My life was good. Now I have no hope to see it at the same level,” she says, pointing to the dirt-covered nut shells and fallen paw paw trees.
She explains that she has farmed close to the river for the past 10 years because the soil is fertile and it is easier to water her plants. But, she realises that it also makes her vulnerable to flooding.
“A pump from the river to higher up would help,” she says, a flicker of hope returning.
“I won’t give up, I think this is temporary,” she says, quietly defiant.
ForAfrika provided Maria with 10kg of groundnut seeds in 2021 as part of an agricultural project. She has managed to harvest and sell some of the surplus at the market, along with her other vegetables.
But this year’s harvest is ruined. Groundnuts take four months to mature. Planting season is in October and harvesting in February. Freddy came at exactly the wrong time.
“We will provide Maria with more seeds for the new planting season,” says Nordino Vicente, ForAfrika’s area manager for Inhambane.
“We will watch her build back stronger.”
ForAfrika believes in assisting communities long after natural or man-made disasters have passed.
In an emergency, the immediate essentials for the most vulnerable are provided. ForAfrika distributed food rations, tarpaulins, blankets and cooking utensils to those who had lost everything in the floods.
But, the focus is always on sustainability and building resilience; preparing for future disasters. Mozambique is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to natural disasters. The southern African country has been hard-hit by cyclones in recent years. Many people are still recovering from Cyclone Gombe which hit last year. There will be more. In fact, weather reports have indicated the Freddy is on its way back to Mozambique this weekend.
You can assist farmers like Maria to prepare for the future by donating here.