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Wed, 28 Dec 2016 12:54 - Updated Wed, 28 Dec 2016 12:54

Camacupa - a maize and soya beans growing giant

Cuito - Farming has all along been a dominant activity in central Bié province, with family or substance agriculture being since the early days in the centre of life in the region.

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Camacupa deputy administrator Lucas Daniel Fufuta

Photo: Tarcisio Vilela

Maize and soya beans silos in Camacupa

Photo: Tarcisio Vilela

By Adriano Chisselele

The municipality of Camacupa that hosts the Angola Geodesy Centre was the most prominent example regarding agricultural production, mainly concerning cereals during the colonial era. Today, this locality fights to re-conquer that image. The Camacupa soya and maize Agro-industrial Farm is one the secure steps in this direction.

With the use of industrial machines and on-job training of its personnel, many and good results have been yielded. In the 2013/2014 season, the farm harvested 3,600 tons of maize and soya beans, against that production of the year 2015 that reached 4,500.

The farm covers 9,000 hectares and not even a half of that area has ever been used as it was going through the experimental stage.

“In the first year (2013/2014), we used 1,900 hectares. In 2014/2015 we reached more than 1,800,” said Manuel Cruz, director of the Agro-industrial Farm.

According to him, “when we will reach the whole of the 9,000 hectares, a harvest of more than 10,000 tons of soya beans and maize could be reached a year. Proper climate and vast arable lands have secured three to four tons of the said crops.

Manuel Cruz explained that the experimental harvest was intended especially for egg and chickens, alike the Aldeia Nova project in  central Cuanza-Sul province.

The farm is equipped with a mill with a capacity to process 120 tons of maize and soya beans per day. It has already been used on an experimental basis and worked.

In terms of storage, it has all available conditions. It has four silos to store maize, each of which with a capacity for 5,000 tons, which totals 20,000 tons of the product to be stored.

Two more silos of a thousand ton each serve to store soya beans.  To Manuel Cruz, this is a great project, since it has and will have a very big impact on the country, particularly on Bié province.

"It has a big impact on the economy, on the absorption of personnel, employment and food for the population. Actually, it is a project that has made the province and the country bigger," he said.

As time goes on, the positive repercussions of this farm will be felt, taking into account the magnitude of the agricultural project being implemented by the Angolan Government, like others that exist around the country.

The first stone for the Camacupa Agro-Industrial Farm was launched in December 2012 and is a project that is part of the China/Angola cooperation.

In this experimental phase of the project, Gesterra, the current managing firm, in partnership with a Chinese company, had the cooperation of casual workers.

On the other hand, the director considered that, with the future replacement of the current management, the new entity will hire workers for a definitive contract, and those already there will be given priority, given their experience.

"The Chinese side will soon hand the project over to the Government," said Manuel Cruz.

Agricultural machines, mills and silos are "waiting" for green light to start maize and soya beans production. It is with these and other agricultural projects that Camacupa walks towards re-conquering its prestige, as a prominent producer of cereals.

Camacupa deputy municipal administrator, Lucas Fufuta, welcomed the Government policies to resume farming in all areas where agriculture was visible.
The official spoke with satisfaction about the implementation of the Camacupa Agro-Industrial Farm he considered a grandiose project.

Another project that deserved praise from the deputy administrator is Fazenda Arrozal, which embarked on the production of rice in Camacupa. This, as a private initiative, is taking the first steps, hoping to obtain good results.

Camacupa inhabitants also dedicate themselves to the growing of other products, such as potato and sweet potato.

In this case, peasants with much experience and capacity, have also created farms.

Lucas Fufuta mentioned the farms Jeremiah and Senhor Samba Muhongo, as an evidence of this dedication to farming.

Besides, family farming is very noticeable in Camacupa. It is practiced in all its localities, hence the relevance of the municipality in agriculture in Bié.

For this reason and in support for the farmers, Camacupa deputy announced that the Government, together with private firms have designed a programme to secure the purchase of fertilizers.

Fertilizers are essential on heavily worn out soils to improve harvest. Hence the Agricultural Development Station (EDA) in Camacupa has been distributing fertilizers.

The administration has made efforts to keep agriculture going.

"Three to four units of fertilizers are distributed, depending on the funds available. Sometimes there is a shortage. What has been done at the level of the municipal administration, through the province, is the distribution of those quantities that are within reach," he said.

Small traders are also involved in efforts to make fertilizers available to farmers. One example is Domingos Passati, who buys them in the province of Benguela and places at the disposal of the peasant population.

The economic crisis, motivated by the fall in the price of oil in the international market, and its negative impacts on the country, has been one of the reasons why buying fertilizers has become a hard task.

On the other hand, Lucas Fufuta assured that, with the combined efforts of various players in the province and municipality, the situation has improved, to the satisfaction of the farmers.

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