Maputo (Agenzia Fides) - Nature and mission can be allies. This is the conviction of the Capuchin friars in Mozambique, who have given birth to breeding to support the pastoral activities in Quelimane, the administrative capital of Zambezia, in Mozambique. "Our missions - Father Guido Felicetti, a Capuchin missionary, explains to Fides - must come to terms with declining donations and difficulties in finding the necessary funds to carry out pastoral and evangelization activities on the spot. This is why we decided, faithful to the Franciscan spirit, to turn to the resources of nature to raise the necessary funds.
The breeding of oxen and goats, through the sale of meat, can help us have the necessary funds".
About 24 kg of meat per capita per year is consumed in Africa today. The average consumption of animal proteins is less than a quarter of the European one and is equal to 17% of the recommended level of protein consumption. On the continent, however, the trend, which goes hand in hand with the increase in living standards, marks an increase in the consumption of beef and sheep. This is why animal breeding can become a good source of income.
The friars' project began a few years ago. At the beginning of the year 2000, a farmer asked the Capuchins for help to set up a farm in a land about sixty kilometers from Quelimane. "The local fraternity of the Capuchins - Father Guido recalls - agreed to help that family and were granted state concession".
When the farmer, having reached the age limit, stopped the work, the friars found themselves managing the land and about 80 animals. The land, far from the community, was difficult to manage for the religious, so the friars moved the animals near Quelimane, entrusting them and involving a group of local farmers. "The breeding is proceeding well, we are starting to sell the animals, especially on the occasion of important festivities when the communities get together and make small banquets", notes the friar.
Capuchins now want to take a step forward by increasing their breeding standards. For this reason, they are raising funds for the construction of shepherds' lodgings, but also machinery for pest control and for the processing of land on which oxen and goats graze.
"The path of self-sufficiency is not simple - concludes Father Guido - but it is the only way forward if we want a Church that knows how to walk with its own legs and is deeply integrated in the local reality". (EC) (Agenzia Fides, 3/1/2019)