The second year of FAR Programme implementation seemed to start well, with all the IOs working hard to carry out the activities. However, it soon turned out to be an atypical year in terms of agricultural production. There was an incidence of drought at the start of the year that lasted until the first week of March. Then, mid-March, cyclone Idai made landfall in Beira and moved in the direction of Zimbabwe, passing Sofala and Manica provinces. The cyclone was one of the strongest ever experienced in Mozambique and caused a lot of damage. The damage caused by the strong winds was aggravated by the flooding because of heavy rainfall and overflowing of the riverbanks.
The arrival of the cyclone was a big test regarding the preparedness for climate shocks. When the cyclone hit the area, we were 4 to 6 weeks from the harvesting and measurement of the demo fields. Consequently, activity plans were adapted in April to respond to the changed context. The cyclone meant an enormous set-back for the programme. There was nothing left to harvest nor to follow-up on. In other words, the entire cycle of activities was interrupted.
Most IOs resolved to start promoting the production of vegetables, as it was already too late in the season to grow crops like beans or maize.
In the aftermath of the cyclone, many emergency programmes emerged, with the distribution of free seeds and small tools the main component. This made it even more difficult for the FAR Programme to promote and stick to its approach of Inclusive Markets. Together with the IOs, it was decided to carry out complementary activities like providing technical assistance and organising demonstration fields for those farmers who received free seeds.
After the destruction caused by the cyclone, it was necessary to carry out repairs, for instance of irrigation systems. Furthermore, it was necessary to repeat certain training before the follow-up could be done.
Since the start of the programme, the IOs have been implementing interventions on climate-smart agricultural practices, and promoting the use of improved seeds through crop demonstration fields and improved irrigation systems. In addition, the programme is also facilitating the establishment of an agrodealer distribution network by connecting rural agro-dealers with hub agro-dealers and seed and fertiliser suppliers.