Angola, IFAD to promote sustainable agriculture, boost food security in the face of climate change
16-07-2020 13:46:00 | by: Pie Kamau | hits: 10925 | Tags:

The International Fund for Agricultural Development of the United Nations (IFAD) announced support for a new project to boost agricultural productivity, improve food and nutrition security and build the resilience of at least 218,000 rural families in Angola who are vulnerable to climate shocks.

In Angola, 50 per cent of poor people live in rural areas and mostly depend on subsistence agriculture. This sector employs 44 per cent of the population and contributes 5.5 per cent to the country’s GDP. Improving small-scale agricultural production, productivity and commercialization is vital to reducing poverty and improving food security in the rural areas.

The government of Angola has implemented several development projects to revitalize the economy. However, more needs to be done to boost the agriculture sector and provide sustainable livelihoods to vulnerable poor people in rural areas. The country also has a large food import bill: US$583 million the first quarter of 2019. Coupled with the decline in oil revenues in 2015-2016 and rising food costs, these factors have impelled the government to start promoting economic diversification. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, such steps are more important than ever.

“If we want to ensure sustainable food and nutrition security and reduce Angola’s food import bill, the government must invest massively in the agriculture sector,” said Robson Mutandi, Country Director for Angola. “Particular attention to commercializing family farming on a sustainable basis is critical for the prosperity of Angola.”

The financing agreement for the Smallholder Resilience Enhancement Project (SREP) was signed today in Rome by Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, and Maria de Fátima Monteiro Jardim, Ambassador of the Republic of Angola to Italy and Permanent Representative. This $150 million project will particularly target young people and women who are vulnerable to climate shocks, aiming to help them to recover and to build their resilience.

The project will promote sustainable practices such as the introduction of drought-tolerant crop varieties, adaptation of cropping calendars and rainwater harvesting. It will invest in small-scale irrigation, increased access to water and climate-resilient farming practices.

SREP will be implemented in seven provinces in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid agroecological zones - Bengo, Zaire, Uige and Cuanza Norte in the north and Benguela, Cunene and Namibe in the south. It will also strengthen the national private sector’s capacity to improve delivery of advisory and climate information services tailored to family farmers’ needs.

Funding includes a $29.8 million loan from IFAD, as well as cofinancing from the Agence Française de Développement ($42 million) and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa ($40 million). The Government of Angola is providing $10 million, with a further $6.5 million contributed by beneficiaries themselves. The financing gap of $21.7 million will come from IFAD resources or from other development partners identified during the implementation.

SREP will also build the capacity of small family farmers in production and processing through farmer field schools so they can become more productive. The project will increase their access to markets by linking them to different private sector actors in value chains.

Furthermore, appropriate rural infrastructure will be put in place to support market-oriented production, and to enable efficient delivery of surplus production from family farms to markets, allowing small-scale farmers to sell more and improve their livelihoods.  

Livelihood development, improved nutrition and resilience are all critical areas for Angola’s food security, and contribute to several Sustainable Development Goals, including no poverty, zero hunger, gender equality, climate action and life on land (SDGs 1, 2, 5, 13 and 15).

Since 1990, IFAD has invested $111.8 million in eight rural development programmes and projects in Angola worth a total of almost $284.6 million. These projects have directly benefited 486,600 rural families.