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Wed, 28 Dec 2016 09:12 - Updated Wed, 28 Dec 2016 09:08

Bié, Huambo and Cuando Cubango present in agriculture and industry

Cuito - The provinces of Bié, Huambo (centre) and Cuando Cubango (southeast) are on the rise concerning agricultural and industrial production. Engagement in farming is more evident in these regions of the country.

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By Adriano Chisselele

Fields and enormous farms lie along the roads that link them, in a clear indication that agriculture is the safe path to progress. As the first and late Angolan president, António Agostinho Neto, once said, “agriculture is the basis for development.”  

One can thus see that subsistence farming moves on steadily at a time industrialised and mechanised agriculture is taking shape in the country.

For example, in the locality of Cuchi, Cuando Cubango municipality, a sample of this attention to the development of the agriculture sector is noted, with a stress to livestock.

The rise of an animal farming project

It is called “Fazendas Agro-Pecuárias do Cuchi” Project and envisages, the allocation of 200,000 hectares of land between the Cuchi and Cuelei rivers, for the development of livestock. Here 50 farms are expected to emerge to raise cattle and swine and construction of egg production farms.

To this end, a Model Farm was established in Menongue, the capital of Cuando Cubango province, late in 2014, to serve as a technological basis for the 50 emerging farms. It is expected to produce technical data and test the manpower for the project.

“Currently, we have 131 workers under training. They are focusing on soya planting. Soya and maize are two very important grains in the feeding of animals, both cattle, birds or even swine. We are testing four varieties of soya and maize in Cuando Cubango soil and prospects are promising,” said Bernardino Araújo, manager of the “Fazenda Modelo”and 50 Cuchi farms.

 In its early stage, the Model Farm employed 400 workers who participated in the bush clearing of the designated area, using chainsaws and other equipment. The prospect is that a lot of people will be part of this great agro-livestock project.
 At least two thousand people will get involved on the farms which, according to the deputy municipal administrator of Cuchi for  Economic and Social affairs, João Ntyamba, will represent a great social support for the Government of Angola to absorb the universe of personnel existing in the world of unemployment.
 It is expected that the future farm of the Model Farm will produce 320,000 eggs per year and two thousand head of cattle.
 The purpose of the farms project is to increase the population of animals and avoid their import , since they can be produced in the country. Thus, Bernardino Araújo points out, other farmers are given the opportunity to buy cattle in Angola, with the quality they want.

"We have a market for meat. Today, the country imports about two million dollars of meat alone. So we must be aware that we have to create quality meat. This is the basis for the success of an agricultural and agro-livestock activity, " said Bernardino Araújo.

Each of the 50 farms will cover 5,000 hectares. The farms project manager assured that in 15 days time, deforestation and preparation of the first farm would start, since the goal  is to prepare the space where they will be established.

Claudemiro Ramalho, another agricultural manager of “Fazenda-Modelo”, explained that each hectare corresponds to a head of cattle to feed the whole life cycle (from birth to the date of its slaughter), for three years. The Cuchi Farms have a capacity of 5,000 hectares each, so they will accommodate five thousand head of cattle each.

 Steel Company
 Men and machines are “sweating” to get the pig iron production plant, located in the municipality of Cuchi, Cuando Cubango, started.
 The works had the starting point about a year and a half ago by the Angolan construction company LM GRUPO. "This year, most of the work has been done - land handling, excavation and landfills," says Bernardino Assunção, a civil engineer and LM Group director.
 Since late last year, the base of the furnace (where the iron ore and coal are mixed to produce pig iron) is ready. Under construction, there are coal silos (coal storage areas, an important component for the production of pig iron) and the ground support wall of the mineral silo.
 The engineer explained that the necessary bases supporting the metal structures of the factory are finished, and should there be no major constraints, they predict that by 2017, the plant would start  production.
 The factory, which is meant to employ at least four thousand workers, will engage in the production of this good, because although there is still no market in the country for pig iron, the product is an international commodity, since it is much demanded in countries like the US and China.

This will make more foreign exchange to enter Angola with the export of this raw material. Pig iron is the raw material required for the production of steel and metal sheet.

LM Group and Modulax are two members of “Companhia Siderúrgica do Cuchi”, a governmental project of great economic and social impact.

Wilson Oliveira, a Brazilian citizen who has been assembling ovens for more than 30 years, stated that the first unit (kiln) to be installed has an installed capacity of 9 to 10,000 tons / month of pig iron.

“After the construction of the project, with the installation of two more units, with a capacity of 30,000 tons / month, we will produce 40,000 tons / month of the same raw material.

All the equipment for the completion of this industry is being produced by Modulax, in Brazil, in the city of Sete Lagoas. In the future, it is intended to produce, in the factory, the spare parts for the Company's steel mill machinery, to reduce costs and obtain higher yields.

In order to sustain the plant in terms of energy, a thermoelectric plant will be built to put the first unit (kiln) into operation, the industry will depend on two generators of 1,000 KVA'S each.

In a clear help to the inhabitants of Cuchi, the thermoelectric plant that will be built, will also supply electricity to the municipality.

“Companhia Siderúrgica do Cuchi” taken as a school project

At first, the technical team that will give the push to the factory will come from Brazil. On the other hand, the “Companhia Siderúrgica do Cuchi” is considered as a school project, since it aims to teach people how to adapt to this type of factory.

"The technical staff comes from Brazil, and after five or six years of operation of the factory, we will have Angolans working on the machines. At the moment, 90 percent of the workers are Angolans. We are here with 50 workers, six or seven of whom are foreigners. Putting the maximum number of Angolan employees living near the company is the goal, " said Wilson Oliveira.

The mine, from which the mineral for the production of pig iron will come, is in the locality of Cutato, Cuchi commune.

Pig Iron

 Pig iron production involves mining of iron ore in the locality of Cutato. This mineral is transported to the steel industry where it is kept in reserve areas, then transported to its silos.
 At the same time, the wood of eucalyptus is produced, since it has to be transformed to make charcoal that is later taken to the silo.
 After being weighed and prepared at the factory, these raw materials are taken to the furnace where they are burned, leaving two products, the slag, worthless to the factory (but can be used in sowing), and the iron itself , which is pig iron, used in various items such as sanitation boxes utensils, stoves, cars and freezers.
 The site of the “Companhia Siderúrgica do Cuchi” reaches six hectares, with spaces for access, packaging of materials and scales.
 A perfect symbiosis is planned in Cuchi
 The “Companhia Siderúrgica do Cuchi” will need coal, an indispensable product in the manufacture of pig iron.

This time, the Model Farm, with the deforestation that has been done in spaces where the 50 farms for animal production will be installed, is also preparing to produce coal to meet the needs of the future steel mill.

To this end, 83 furnaces for the production of coal have been put in place. The forecast, according to Claudemiro Ramalho, agricultural manager of the Model Farm and the 50 Cuchi Farms , is the construction of 7,500 kilns.

"A steel kiln needs 2,000 cubic metres of coal per day," he said, adding that more than 2,000 people will be needed to engage in coal production.

Therefore, the regular plantation of eucalyptus for coal production will be included in the farms project.

For the deputy municipal administrator of Cuchi for Economic and Social affairs, João Ntyamba, when he heard Cuando Cubango being called "the land of the end of the world", it saddened everyone, but this myth, at all costs, is falling apart, because the Cuando-Cubango people always believed that their region was the land of progress.

The creation of the “Companhia Siderúrgica do Cuchi” and 50 farms satisfies the municipal administrator, since they are large governmental projects, within the ambit of  its economic diversification policy, that will foster development and allow many young people to use themselves and, consequently, obtain the bread for their families.

Two young professionals talk about their daily lives

Bernardo Lucas, an employee of the Model Farm, said that before joining his current activity he farmed on the field owned by his parents.

Now he says with joy that he knows how to carry out some operations relating to the coal kiln.

"Today, I'm here on the project and I really enjoy this. It is very important that we are seeing things that we never imagined we would manage. I'm helping the family. My dream is to possess many things," he says.

Metodio Munini, a native of southern Cunene province and resident in Cuando Cubango for more than 15 years, pointed out that the country is increasingly moving towards the best. "We need more and more of this kind of company to help young people. Those who know Cuando Cubango know is changing," he said.

Cuchi is a municipality of  Cuando Cubango province with a territorial extension of 10,621 square kilometres and a population estimated at 44,456 inhabitants. Formerly considered the main barn of the province, it worked hard to re-conquer the prestige that the war tried to obfuscate.


Agronomist Claudemiro Ramalho Agronomist and project manager Bernardino Gervásio Araújo Bricklayer Bernardo Lucas LM Grupo civil engineer Bernardino Assunção

Tags Economy  

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