Mozambique: Nutrition Profile

This woman checks the status of the bunches of bananas after they are transported to the production facility.
  • Mozambique

    Flag of Mozambique

  • Population

    23.9 Million

  • Pop. Under 5

    4 Million

  • % Stunting

    43% Of Children Under 5

  • % Underweight

    15% Of Children Under 5

Photo credit: USAID/AgriFUTURO


Mozambique has made a remarkable transition from a post-conflict country two decades ago to one of Africa’s highest-performing economies. GDP growth has been over 7 percent over the past three years and is projected at over 8 percent in 2014 as a result of political stability, steady macroeconomic management, reconstruction and structural reforms, augmented by large foreign investments in the energy and natural resources sectors.1

Agriculture is a key component of the economy, contributing to 29 percent of GDP. Mozambique has the potential to become a breadbasket for the region, with its vast amounts of fertile land and ideal location along major trade corridors and ports.

Despite this impressive growth and potential, 55 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, and the country ranks low on the 2014 UNDP Human Development Index, at 178 out of 187 countries.2,3 To lift people out of poverty, the government will need to focus on developing the agricultural sector in line with the government’s poverty reduction strategy, and on improving health, education, infrastructure and safety nets for the most vulnerable.

The agricultural sector is challenged by frequent droughts in the southern and central regions and by flooding along the major river basins; Mozambique is ranked third among African countries most affected by weather-related hazards. Progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been mixed: Mozambique has already succeeded in reaching and surpassing its MDG 4 target—reducing its under-5 mortality rate. However, it is not on track to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (MDG 1) or improve maternal health (MDG 5) by 2015.4

Nutrition Situation

Almost one-third of Mozambicans, most of them living in the arid and flood-prone areas of the south and center regions, suffer from chronic food insecurity. Undernutrition, fueled by high rates of food insecurity and coupled with the underlying causes of poor dietary diversity, low meal frequency, poor feeding practices, high levels of disease and teenage pregnancy, is a critical public health challenge.5

Nationally, 43 percent of children under 5 are stunted, but regional variations persist, with the highest rates of stunting in Nampula (55 percent) and Cabo Delgado (52 percent) provinces, and the lowest rates in Maputo Province and Maputo City (23 percent each). Stunting is far more prevalent among children of mothers who are malnourished (55 percent) than among children whose mothers are overweight (33 percent).6 Micronutrient deficiencies are widespread: 69 percent of children under 5 are anemic, and 74 percent of children under 5 are vitamin A deficient, with negative impacts on growth, immunity and development.5

Mozambique Nutrition Data
Population (2011) 23.9 Million
Population under 5 years of age (0-59 months, 2012) 4 Million
  20037 20116
Prevalence of stunting among children under 5 (0-59 months) 41% 43%
Prevalence of underweight among children under 5 (0-59 months) 24% 15%
Prevalence of wasting among children under 5 (0-59 months) 4% 4%
Prevalence of anemia among children aged 6-59 months n/a 69%
Prevalence of anemia among women of reproductive age (15-49 years) n/a 54%
Prevalence of thinness among women of reproductive age (15-49 years) 9% 9%
Prevalence of children aged 0-5 months exclusively breastfed 31% 41%
Prevalence of breastfed children aged 6-23 months receiving a minimum acceptable diet 9% 15%

National Nutrition Policies

Mozambique’s Multisectoral Action Plan for the Reduction of Chronic Undernutrition (PAMRDC) provides a common results framework for nutrition action. The PAMRDC identifies critical target groups, sets out seven strategic objectives, outlines specific interventions and key progress indicators, and identifies which institutions will assume primary responsibility for achieving results. The government also recently adopted the Nutritional Rehabilitation Program (PRN) for the treatment of moderate and severe acute malnutrition.

In 2011, Mozambique joined Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN), a global movement that unites national leaders, civil society, bilateral and multilateral organizations, donors, businesses and researchers in a collective effort to improve nutrition. The current donor conveners for Mozambique are UNICEF and Denmark. The SUN Movement Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) recently funded the Civil Society Platform in Mozambique, which will work with relevant government sectors to ensure that necessary resources are mobilized and allocated for cross-sector implementation of the PAMRDC and other nutrition interventions. The platform will also work to mobilize and engage nongovernmental organizations and relevant stakeholders at the national and provincial levels to incorporate nutrition-related interventions in their plans and projects.

Mozambique signed a CAADP (Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme) Compact in 2011. CAADP is an African-led program bringing together governments and diverse stakeholders to reduce hunger and poverty and to promote economic growth through agricultural development. The CAADP is implemented through the Strategic Plan Agricultural Development, which falls under Mozambique’s Vision 2025, with the mission to “contribute to food security and income of agriculture producers in a sustainable and competitive manner, ensuring social and gender equity.”8 In 2013, Mozambique joined the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a partnership between African heads of state, corporate leaders and G-8 members to accelerate implementation of CAADP strategies.

USAID Programs: Accelerating Progress in Nutrition

Highlighted Bilateral Nutrition Projects in Mozambique
Project Name Year Awarded End Date Objective(s)
Strengthening Communities Through Integrated Programming (SCIP) 2009 2015 Implement community-based integrated health programs in Nampula and Zambezia provinces.
World Food Program 2013 2015 Procure and deliver Corn-Soy Blend to treat moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) in five provinces—Sofala, Manica, Niassa, Nampula, and Zambezia.

Feed the Future Progress

In Mozambique, Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, combines value chain, innovative agro-processing, and social and behavior change communication (SBCC) activities to increase equitable growth in the agriculture sector and improve nutritional status, especially among women and children under 5. Nutrition is the fundamental element that connects Feed the Future and the U.S. Government’s Global Health Initiative (GHI), with a shared goal to reduce underweight among children under 5 years of age by 30 percent.

USAID/Mozambique: Feed the Future Goals
  • Reduce the prevalence of poverty in Feed the Future target regions by 20 percent.
  • Reduce the prevalence of stunting in children under age five in Feed the Future target regions by 20 percent.

There is currently no Feed the Future flagship nutrition project in Mozambique, but there are several nutrition projects that USAID Mozambique supports, including the Strengthening Communities Through Integrated Programming (SCIP) project and the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance III Project (FANTA), which are complemented by the AgriFUTURO value chain activity and the Platform for Agricultural Research and Technology Innovation (PARTI) agricultural research activity. These activities are accompanied by private sector engagement and investment through the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).

The Feed the Future strategy is a collaborative framework that builds upon projects implemented by the Mozambican and U.S. governments, including Food for Peace, USDA, MCC, and Peace Corps. The Feed the Future zone of influence includes 23 districts in the Nampula, Zambezia, Tete and Manica provinces and supports value chain development along the Beira and Nacala trade corridors.

GAIN has established a Marketplace for Nutritious Foods to improve the availability, affordability and consumption of nutritious foods. The marketplace is a locally established knowledge, networking and financing platform focused on increasing nutrition-related investments in the food value chain. The marketplace brings together local entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises, nonprofit alliances, donors and investors to bring nutritious foods into the market.

AgriFUTURO focuses on the oilseeds, pulses and fruits value chains, assisting smallholder farmers in the productivity, processing and marketing of these commodities. The activity enhances access to finance, forging public-private partnerships, providing business development services and improving the business-enabling environment. The PARTI activity works with international research centers to conduct rigorous agricultural research in the same value chains, releasing new, improved and drought-resistant varieties of key crops and showcasing improved management practices and affordable inputs that have the ability to drastically improve smallholder productivity in a short period of time. A nutrition awareness campaign and nutrition training on household processing and consumption is also underway.

The SCIP project includes nutrition-related activities, such as SBCC for improved dietary quality and diversity; nutrition education on the seven Essential Nutrition Actions (ENAs); screening and referral for acute malnutrition; and water, sanitation and hygiene promotion. The FANTA project works with the Mozambique Ministry of Health on capacity building at a higher level, strengthening national policies regarding facility and community growth monitoring and promotion (GMP) programs and SBCC strategies and assisting with coordination among stakeholders.

In FY2012, Feed the Future supported an assessment of the potential for private sector agro-processing of nutritious foods; identified business/market opportunities and challenges for nutritious products made from orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, mangoes, soybeans and cashews; and assessed nutrition SBCC best practices and growth monitoring and promotion. Short-term training was given to 164,186 farmers, extensionists, food processors and agro-dealers (77,823 were women); 24,404 kilograms of foundation seeds of improved varieties of cowpeas and soybeans were provided to seed multipliers; and 11,212 rural jobs were created. A total of 47,298 children participated in GMP interventions in Zambezia, Nampula and Cabo Delgado provinces.9

 Mozambique: Feed the Future Zones of Influence.<br />
Map shows the Beira-Nacala Trade Corridor, zones of influence and the district boundary.

Other USAID Nutrition-Related Development Assistance

USAID invests in improving nutritional status for HIV-positive clients, particularly pregnant women and HIV-exposed children, through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). PEPFAR is accelerating nutrition assessment, counseling and support (NACS) programs within Home Based Care, facility, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission settings. NACS services include nutrition assessment, counseling, and referrals and linkages to food security programs as well as referral to nutrition rehabilitation centers for people living with HIV, orphans and vulnerable children, and clinically malnourished children identified in the community. In FY2012, NACS/PRN guidelines were rolled out nationwide; as a result, there has been an increase in the number of health facilities providing NACS for children and pregnant/lactating women as well as improvements in nutrition data collection.

The Food for Peace (FFP) Title II program operated in Mozambique for 25 years, ending in 2013. The program transitioned from food distribution to become the main nutrition intervention project that aligned closely with Feed the Future’s nutrition goals. The project targeted children under 5, their parents, and pregnant and lactating women in Nampula and Zambezia provinces. It reached about 200,000 farmer households and 375,000 young children. The objectives were to increase agricultural production, improve crop quality, increase household income, promote better health and nutrition, and strengthen community resilience.

A central nutrition component was SBCC, promoted by health workers through mother and father community groups. SBCC interventions included exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, hygiene and healthy practices, community care of sick and malnourished children, growth monitoring and promotion, and micronutrient supplementation. FFP projects also included community gardens, activities geared toward processing techniques for bitter cassava, and storage and conservation of seeds and foods.

Mozambique joined the Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed campaign in 2012, and pledged to reduce under-5 mortality to 20 or fewer deaths per 1,000 live births by 2035 by reducing the leading preventable causes of child mortality, including undernutrition. To view the country action plan for ending preventable child and maternal deaths in Mozambique, please see the Acting on the Call 2014 report.

  1. World Bank Mozambique Country Overview
  2. Feed the Future Mozambique Country Profile
  3. UNDP Human Development Report 2014 [PDF, 5.3MB]
  4. MDG Track: Monitoring Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, Mozambique
  5. World Food Program Mozambique Country Overview
  6. Mozambique Demographic and Health Survey 2011, 2013. Institute of Statistics, MOH & MEASURE DHS+/ORC Macro, Calverton, MD, USA.
  7. Mozambique Demographic and Health Survey 2003, 2005. Institute of Statistics, MOH & MEASURE DHS+/ORC Macro, Calverton, MD, USA.
  8. CAADP Compact, Mozambique, 2011.
  9. Mozambique Mission Full Performance Plan Report, 2012. USAID.