National Geographic : 2014 Jul
#futureoffood 67 Catxava says. “Big farms take too much area, and there is nowhere for people to live. If everybody had five hectares [12 acres] of soy, they would make money and not lose their land.” Outgrower arrangements have been successful with poul- try and high-value crops like tobacco and even organic baby corn grown for export to Europe. Now Mozambique’s farmers are starting to raise soybeans for feed to supply the booming chicken industry. Rachel Grobbelaar is a tall, tough Zimba- bwean who left a good job in London’s financial district to run African Century, which works with more than 900 outgrowers—a mix of small- holders and medium-size growers—on nearly 2,500 acres. Farmers each get seven visits a sea- son from the company’s extension agents, who teach them the basics of conservation agricul- ture and the use of inexpensive seed treatments, instead of expensive fertilizer, to boost yields. “I was visiting one of our small farmers up on the mountain yesterday, and he grew 2.4 tons per hectare [one ton per acre],” Grobbelaar says, referring to last year’s harvest—more than double Ethiopia GredaTelila On his five-acre farm Telila grows stalks of sorghum. A subsistence farmer whose land is prone to flooding, he struggles to feed his 12 children.