Steady progress by Concern in Angola
The country has begun to enjoy the fruits of peace since the end of a 27-year civil war in 2002.
Concern is working in three provinces where it is revitalising the rural economy. It is also working to empower the communities where it works so that they can take their destiny into their own hands.
Concern had plans to move away from its emergency task of supplying food but with heavy rainfall in 2004 it has now decided to continue supplying food. Its long term plans for Angola are based on building an infrastructure so that there will be a solid security around food supplies.
In both Huambo and Bie provinces as a result of better harvest in the 2004/2005 agriculture season, household food security situation improved with families being able to have relatively better stock of food at household level, get better income through sell of part of their crop, and have also been able to reserve seeds for the 2005/2006 agricultural season.
However, as the rural communities are now going through the lean season the majority of families do not have enough food stock to see them through the season and their main coping mechanisms are looking for alternative farm labour work (in addition to the work they do on their family farm), consumption of sweet potatoes planted in February/March 2005, and the making and selling of charcoal.
The Concern food security teams in both Huambo and Bie have been very busy implementing activities of the programme. Chief amongst these were the distribution of farm inputs mainly fertiliser and maize seeds to seed multipliers, as well maize and vegetable seeds distribution to beneficiary farmers.
Other activities include, fruit tree nurseries and setting up and supporting women's groups, training of selected community members in animal care, completing data on harvest of Irish potato, provision of extension services particularly setting up demonstration sites for maize, beans, ground nuts, and Soya beans for the current season and in Huambo province supporting communities in Nunda village in their work on small scale local irrigation.
Prior to the start of the 2005/2006 planting season (November 2005) there was a total of 100 tons of maize seeds stock at the various community seed stores established in Huambo province through support from Concern in addition to a total of 27 tons of maize seed obtained from the Concern seed multiplication activities.
Concern therefore did not procure maize seed for general distribution for the 2005/2006 agriculture season but instead the 127 tons of maize seed from the community seed stores and from seed multiplication were distributed to around 12,000 farmers in 86 villages in Ekunha municipality including returnee families.
Concern however procured 600 kg of maize seed for seed multiplication activities for 2005/2006 planting season which was distributed along with fertilisers to seed multipliers in the month of November.
In Bie province, a total of 47.3 tons of maize seeds have been distributed to 4,730 families in 30 villages. In addition 1 ton of maize seeds and 22 tons of fertiliser have been provided for seed multiplication to carry out seed multiplication on 30 hectares of land in Kunhinga and 10 hectares of land in Bellohorizonte communes. 12 bicycles were also given to 12 Community Management Groups.
So far in both provinces crop development is in good condition and the rains have been favourable and if the rains continue like this a better harvest is expected in 2006.
Health and Livelyhood:
Since October, Concern Angola has been working with two local partner NGOs (CESAD and EDSPOV) in implementing a livelihood security programme in Huambo province.
The partnership that Concern is entering into with local partners is for implementation of livelihoods security and HIV/AIDS activities. The HIV/AIDS local partners could support Concern in this process by training and mentoring other local partners.
Concern is committed to curbing the spread of the AIDS pandemic in Angola where approximately four per cent of the population is infected. According to the statistics in 2003, 21,000 people died from AIDS and 3.9 per cent of the population are HIV infected.