Angola

Special Report: FAO/WFP crop and food supply assessment mission to Angola 25 Jul 2003

Mission Highlights

  • Since April 2002 Angola has been experiencing its first year of peace and stability after almost three decades of armed conflict. People and goods move with decreasing constraints between provinces, improving the conditions under which agriculture, food marketing, and access to food take place.

  • Large numbers of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees from neighbouring countries have been returning to their original areas since last year. A significant number of ex-UNITA soldiers have been demobilised and are being resettled. This continuous flow of populations has made the quantification of vulnerable groups more complex.

  • The 2003 cereal production is estimated to be 23 percent higher than last year at 670 249 tonnes, due to favourable rainfall conditions during the 2002/03 growing season, an increase in the area under cultivation and substantial distribution of agricultural inputs. Other crops such as cassava, groundnuts, beans, and sweet potatoes, have also increased from last year's levels.

  • Cereal import requirements for 2003/04 are estimated at 709 000 tonnes, of which 490 000 tonnes are expected to be covered as commercial imports and 219 000 tonnes as emergency food aid.

  • The number of people in need of food assistance will remain at around 1.4 million. WFP plans to assist over 1 million most vulnerable people including returnee farmers, resettled farmers, socially vulnerable groups, IDPs still in areas of refuge, and vulnerable resident farmers. All these groups are in the process of clearing land and replanting their fields and will need continued food assistance until the main 2004 harvest.

1. OVERVIEW

An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Angola from 15 May to 10 June, 2003. The mission's objective was to assess the 2003 crop production and the cereal import requirements, including food aid, for the 2003/04 marketing year (April-March). The mission was briefed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER), Ministry of Social Assistance and Reintegration (MINARS), and by the FAO and WFP country teams. Field visits were made to 8 of the country's 18 provinces over a period of two weeks, together with officers from the Food Security Unit of MINADER and observers from the European Union. An observer from SADC joined the mission in its final phase in Luanda.

The Mission was divided into two groups for the field visits, one visiting the provinces of Malange, Uige, and Moxico, while the other visited Luanda, Bengo, Bié, Huambo, and Huila, covering the northern, central, and southern regions. The new stability of the country made travelling this time safer and easier than in previous missions, and allowed for more visits to the agricultural areas of the provinces. Information on the situation in the provinces not visited was provided to the Mission by the Food Security Unit of MINADER, WFP/VAM, and the offices of NGOs with projects in the country.

Since April 2002, when a cease-fire agreement was signed between UNITA and the Government, a large number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have returned to their original areas. The majority of these people are farmers. Some started moving back to their lands immediately after the signing of the agreement, others followed later, and the flow is still going on. Refugees who had settled in neighbouring countries are also returning to their regions in Angola. For a number of reasons, not all returnees were on time to cultivate their land and they participated in the 2002/03 agricultural year by working on the land of resident farmers.

Agricultural performance in 2002/03 has improved. Rains were abundant and well distributed throughout the country, except in some southern provinces. The area cropped in main food crops is estimated by the mission at about 2.56 million hectares, 14 percent higher than last year's figure. This increase can be explained by the good prospects brought about by early rains, but mainly by the fact that returnee farmers worked on the lands of resident farmers. Substantial provision of agricultural inputs by the Government and international agencies, as well as renewed access to markets, also contributed to this year's improved food production.

The mission forecasts the 2003 cereal production at 670 249 tonnes, 23 percent higher than last year reflecting both an increase in cropped areas and better yields. Cereals include maize (545 150 tonnes), and sorghum and millet (97 402 tonnes). Production of cassava, the main staple food in the North, is estimated slightly above last year, at some 5.7 million tonnes (fresh weight).

The cereal import requirement for marketing year 2003/04 (April/March) is estimated at 709 000 tonnes, lower than last year's level. Of that total, 490 000 tonnes are anticipated to be imported commercially, leaving 219 000 tonnes to be covered by food aid.

The number of people in urgent need of food assistance is estimated at 1.4 million, basically the same figure as last year's, because the reduction in internally displaced people (IDPs) has been offset by refugees arriving from neighbouring countries as well as by demobilised ex-soldiers. Internal and external returnees (retornados) make up one-half the population still in need of food assistance (869 700). The other vulnerable groups in terms of access to food are: (i) IDPs who have resettled in areas which are not their areas of origin (80 400); (ii) vulnerable social groups (about 201 600); (iii) people who became IDPs after October 2001 including a large number in some provinces since the cease-fire (160 400); and vulnerable residents, still in need of food assistance (89 000).1 WFP plans to assist 1.03 million people, 18 percent less than last year, including 610 400 returnees. The food aid requirements of this population amount to 161 000 tonnes of cereals, 17 800 tonnes of pulses and smaller quantities of oil, corn-soya blend, sugar and salt. The remaining needy population will have to be assisted by other humanitarian agencies.

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