MAPUTO, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) in Mozambique told Xinhua on Thursday in Maputo that it has an aid package of more than 300 million Euros (about 370 million U.S. dollars) to support the country's rural development in the northern province of Nampula and central Zambezia, in sectors of energy, agriculture and transport.
According to Isabel de Almeida, Head of Cooperation for the EU delegation in Mozambique, the aid program will be carried out for a period of seven years, as part of the EU Development Fund, which will bring considerable benefits for local small farmers.
"The program linked to agriculture competitiveness should be the first to implement, later will follow the energy project, and the last part of cooperation will be that of transport," said Isabel.
The EU expectS to have the three components targeting the two provinces in full implementation by 2020, an initiative fully controlled by the EU itself, to facilitate access to alternative energies and transform precarious road access into the drive for trade.
"Our objective is to bring down poverty levels and create an inclusive and sustainable development, which means more agri-business by facilitating access to the market and business for small farmers," added Isabel.
The EU official clarified that the intention to improve small farmers' access to agri-business doesn't mean to directly promote Mozambican products in EU market, but to work with selected value chains to explore the potential for investment and identify means to add value to agricultural products, including processing for national and external markets.
EU expects that neighboring provinces in central and northern regions of the country will also benefit from this investment.
The EU says it is pleased with the cooperation with Mozambican government, characterized by dialogue and mutual consultation so far.
"We evaluate the cooperation with the government positively, there is an excellent cooperation with the national office and the decision to work in Nampula and Zambezia is a result of long-term discussion and consultation as we worked together," said Isabel.