A Bright Future for Agriculture in Angola

Agriculture in Angola
Angola is a country where 68% of the population lives below the poverty line despite being one of Africa’s biggest exporters of oil. Before its 27-year civil war, Angola used to be self-sustainable in key crops and even an exporter of a few cash crops. Angola’s civil war caused a mass exodus from rural farming areas and many of its citizens are wary of moving back because of weak infrastructure and the threat of unexploded landmines. Angola’s government, along with NGOs, nonprofits and international organizations, are finding innovative solutions to have agriculture in Angola blooming once again.

The Mines Advisory Group (MAG)

Angola’s biggest threat to economic and agricultural success is the landmine sites that are still active 11 years after their civil war. The Mines Advisory Group (MAG) is an NGO working out of the U.K. that is actively removing Angola’s active landmine sites. MAG is the only all-woman weapons and ammunition management team, and so far, it has cleared 10 million square miles of Angola’s rural areas. MAG’s work is allowing people to move back to their hometowns, like the village of Lucusee, which was once deserted and is now home to more than 21,000 residents. The group is making it possible for land that was once treacherous and deserted to be safe and capable of being used for home building and developing agriculture in Angola.

Projects from the FAO

The Angolan government, because of the help from MAG and other NGOs, is now able to hit the ground running on development projects for its agricultural sector. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a sub-organization of the U.N., is implementing a project across multiple countries in Africa called Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems (CDAIS). CDAIS is being put to work in many countries, but specifically in Angola, the FAO is trying to make use of Angola’s resource-rich farmlands. Angola’s farmers have only cultivated 7% of the country’s arable lands.

The project has several target areas to help farmers develop the rest of these fertile lands. CDAIS aims to provide agricultural education, and pathways for communicative efforts between agricultural entrepreneurs and has its own system for sharing technical information called the Agricultural Innovation System (AIS-CDAIS). The FAO, through these methods, will improve the production of seeds, the integrity of rice crops and the Commonwealth of agricultural information and advancements.

The World Bank Angola 

The World Bank is funding big projects in Angola’s agricultural sector. The World Bank is one of many organizations to have realized Angola’s untapped agricultural power, but they have also realized the threats to a growing agricultural industry posed by the worst drought that Angola has seen in 40 years. The World Bank has tackled both of these issues by funding two key projects to develop agriculture in Angola. The World Bank in conjunction with the French Agency for Development has developed the Angola Commercial Agriculture Project (ACAP), which focuses on increasing productivity and access to foreign markets and commercialized farms.

ACAP aims to accomplish these goals by promoting agriculture in Angola to investors who will put money into agricultural development. So far, they have helped Angola’s farmers finalize 25 business plans which have amounted to a total of $7.7 million USD. The World Bank is also spearheading a project named the Smallholder Agricultural Transformation Project (SATP), which is trying to transition agriculture in Angola from smallholder sustenance farming to a more weather-resistant form of farming. SATP aims to accomplish this by:

  • Increasing Angolan farmers’ production rates so that they have excess crops to sell.
  • Expanding farmers’ access to agricultural information through established Farmer Field Schools.
  • Supporting smallholder farms financially so they can adopt more climate-resilient and nutrition-smart agriculture.
  • Increasing access to contemporary and improved production technologies.

The World Bank is just one of the many global organizations banding together to support growth in the agricultural sector of Angola.

Looking Ahead

Angola is a country that has faced colonization, civil war, a depressed economy and now the worst drought the country has seen in 40 years. The Angolan government is pooling its resources and working tirelessly with other organizations despite these despairing conditions. Farmers in Angola can ease their anxieties by seeing how hard their government and the international community are working to bring innovative solutions to transform their industry as they know it. Agriculture in Angola can count on a bright future because of the work that multiple supportive and creatively innovative groups of people are doing.

– Alexandra Curry
Photo: Flickr