Tue, 31 Dec 2019 12:46 - Updated Tue, 31 Dec 2019 12:46
Retrospect: Family farming gains new momentum in 2019
Luanda - Agriculture sector ended this year (2019) with encouraging data for the peasant class, which quadrupled the number of animal-drawn plows distributed by the Government during the 2019/2020 agricultural campaign.
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Some 60,000 tillage machines were distributed throughout the country, compared to 15,000 received in the 2018/2019 campaign, numbers that can help foster family farming.
Nearly two million families participated in agricultural year, with the sector providing 20,000 tons of compound and simple fertilizers, seeds, limestone, hoes, machetes, files, axes and technical assistance.
The campaign had as its main objective to reach the goals defined in the National Development Plan, which, by 2019, would cover 70 to 80 percent of Angolan food needs.
Thus, 3,000 tons of improved maize seeds, 200 tons of beans, 100 tons of millet and five tons of cottonseed were made available to foster crop cultivation.
Due to the shortage of family farming in the supply of food to the domestic market, this season the sector also focused on improving and increasing the production of maize, beans, millet and sorghum.
Families were also encouraged to invest more and more in growing cassava, sweet potatoes and rice, according to José Fernandes, Deputy Director General of the Agrarian Development Institute (IDA).
As for agricultural projects co-financed by the Angolan State and international agencies, in 2019, the implementation of the Family Farming Development and Marketing Project (Mosap II) stood out.
This is a project that is in its second phase and is being implemented in the provinces of Malanje, Huambo and Bié, which acts on complementary basis in IDA actions.
The USD 95 million project benefits at least 150,000 families through co-financing from the Angolan Government and the World Bank.
This project is also being replicated in the provinces of Cuanza Sul and Huila, worth around USD 38 million, co-financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The Value Chain Project, recently launched in northern Cabinda province, is also one of the initiatives that has external funding.
The project, estimated at about USD 123 million, is co-financed by the Angolan Government and the African Development Bank (ADB).
The plan aims to leverage and secure commercial production of coffee, cocoa, palm oil, cashew, as well as bananas, cassava, sweet potatoes, vegetables, cereals and other products.
With the emergence of these projects, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry seeks to ensure their sustainability, to avoid the ineffectiveness of the plans, as occurred in other Government programmes, where at the end of each period producers returned to square one.
In the current campaign, the agricultural sector had only a budget allocation of about 0.4 percent of the State Budget, an insufficient percentage to boost agriculture and overcome Angola's food deficit.
According to the Deputy Director General of the Institute for Agrarian Development (IDA), José Fernandes, the sector needs approximately 10 percent of the State Budget to minimize this deficit and increase national production to reduce food imports.
In addition to the weak financing to the agriculture sector, the salary paid to agricultural technicians is still low, which has caused brain drain, increasingly weakening family farming.
To overcome these difficulties, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has worked with other state agencies to solve this problem that has caused constraints in accelerating national production.
In another area, 2019 was marked by the signing of two memorandums of understanding between Angola and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the field of agriculture to enhance the cultivation of corn and soybeans, as well as poultry farming.
Both projects are expected to start to materialize in the coming days.
The first agreement focuses on the creation of a factory for the production of agricultural mechanisation equipment, to be installed in the Special Economic Zone (ZEE), in the municipality of Viana, Luanda province.
The second aims to set up a farm for the cultivation of corn, soy and poultry production in the province of Cuanza Sul.
The project is meant to improve agriculture for Angolan families, given that there will be room for inclusion of the family workforce.
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