The increase in agricultural production in Angola had a big effect on reducing hunger in the country, but the impact on poverty reduction was much lower, said the director of the Department of Agrarian Development Institute (IDA) of Kwanza Sul province, in statements made in Sumbe.
Cirilo Lissimo, who addressed the issue of the “Importance of Cooperatives and their Contribution to the Economy” at a conference with farmers’ associations and agri-livestock cooperatives in Angola, said the combined contribution of agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 2001 and 2003 was around 8.00%, an indicator that increased in 2017 to 12% due to public investment programmes.
Lissimo said that most of the growth was due to the expansion of cultivated areas and not to an increase in productivity and added: “even if the agricultural sector has been identified as a priority area in the poverty reduction strategy, budget appropriations for the sector are still low.”
Before Independence, Angola was self-sufficient in all major food types except wheat production, and it exported various agricultural products, notably coffee and sugar, said Lissimo, who recalled that, “the civil war and lack of investment have had a strong impact on the agri-food sector, and since 1990 the country has been importing food and food aid.”
Currently, only 10% of Angola’s arable land is cultivated and yield per cultivated area is one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, according to state newspaper Jornal de Angola.
Lissimo said that family farms tend to have a high degree of diversification of their products, although there is almost always a need to establish a dominant crop to generate a surplus, that is, capital to invest back into the productive process, from the sale of the resulting product to the market.
“In commercial farm units, about two-thirds of the population depend on agriculture for food, income and employment, with women making up the bulk of the workforce,” said Lissimo, who added that it is estimated that 80% of rural workers are practicing subsistence agriculture, producing little or no surplus, with very low productivity. (macauhub)