ANGOLA* (10 February)
Normal to above normal planting rains were received for the main season crops at the start of the 2004/05 agricultural season. If the trends were to continue the crop prospects this year look favourable. The 2004 cereal harvest was estimated at about 724 000 tonnes, about 9 percent over last year or 27 percent over the previous five year average. This was mainly the result of the increased areas under cultivation, favourable weather, resettlement of many internally displaced people and refugees and substantial distribution of agricultural inputs. Improved harvests in the northern and southern parts of the country and mixed results in the central highlands were experienced. In spite of the good harvest, the country needed cereal imports of about 820 000 tonnes for 2004/05, of which 642 000 tonnes were expected to be in the form of commercial imports and 178 000 tonnes as emergency food aid.
Challenges to improving food production in the country include access to productive inputs such as draught animals, fertilizer and agriculture extension services. Recently the World Bank has approved a grant of US$21 million to Angola for implementing the HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis Control Project.
Angolan economy which produces more than 1 million barrels a day of crude oil that fetched more than double the budgeted price in the international market in 2004, is expected to boom with the Government prediction of 16 percent growth in 2005. Ironically, a large number of food insecure people exist in the country. WFP with its limited food distribution currently feeds about 850 000 vulnerable people, most of them internally displaced persons (IDPs). With the improvement in the security situation, large numbers of IDPs and refugees have returned to their areas of origin.