In March 2013, three senior officials from Banque Oportunidade de Mozambique (BOM) went on a learning visit to South Africa along with 25 representatives of companies and the government as a part of an initiative by the Traders of Agriculture Inputs. During the visit, participants learnt about the seed production, marketing, and certification process. The visit also gave participants an opportunity to learn about the recent developments in horticulture farming and new varieties of seeds and other agriculture inputs.
Learning sites included the Sterkspruit farm owned by Potato Seed Company. (www.potatoseed.co.za) situated 2150 meters above sea level, the Agriculture Research Council (ARC) of South Africa’s Roodeplaat Vegetable and Ornamental Plants Institute, Potatoes South Africa (www.potatoes.co.za), and the Hygrotech Company (firstname.lastname@example.org). These vsits exposed participants to the latest trends in horticulture and a wide variety of seeds that can be used in different climate regions in Africa.
Participants learnt about how the potato sector evolved over the last fifteen years in South Africa where the number of registered potato farmers declined while the production increased. High capital needs led only those farmers that had access to capital to grow and advance their crop production techniques, thus underlining the importance of access to finance for small scale producers.
Mozambique imports most of its potato from South Africa. Participants noted that many new varieties of potato crops are not available on the Mozambican market, which could be a business opportunity for banks to extend financing to the local potato producers.