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An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Angola from 21 April to 3 May 1996 to estimate the 1995/96 output of foodcrops in the country, project cereal import requirements for 1996/97 and assess food aid needs. Two groups of Mission members travelled to 11 out of 18 provinces whilst a third held discussions in Luanda with Government officials, UN agency personnel, donors and NGO representatives. In the provincial capitals and municipalities, the visiting groups met the Provincial Government representatives, line agency staff, NGO representatives, traders and members of farmers’ associations. Further, during journies across provinces made possible by the recent peace process and de-mining of roads, crop inspections and farmer interviews were conducted. UNITA controlled areas were also included in the visits where similar activities were conducted. This year, the Mission was joined by observers from the European Union and SADC.

Data regarding cropped area and yield predictions supplied by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER) were cross-checked with information received in the provinces and updated accordingly by the Mission. Supplementary information from the provinces that the Mission was unable to visit was obtained from NGO and international agency sources working in such areas.

The Mission forecasts a 1995/96 cereal production of 500 000 tons, comprising 398 000 tons of maize and 102 000 tons of sorghum and millet, which is 84 percent more than last year’s estimates due to a recovery of production in Government controlled areas stimulated by the provision of tools and seeds, a better rainfall pattern, no serious outbreaks of pests or diseases. Improved Mission field access led to a better understanding of the situation in both Government and UNITA controlled areas.

On the negative side, production has been limited in some areas by a severe shortage of hand tools and ploughshares, by the absence of fertilizer and plant protection chemicals and by disincentives to produce/harvest such as lack of marketing opportunities for surpluses and large scale robbery or destruction of standing crops.

Given an estimated population of 12.2 million and an average cereal consumption of 70 kg/head/year, the cereal import requirement for 1996/97 is estimated at 442 000 tons. Public and private commercial cereal imports are estimated at 200 000 tons, indicating a shortfall of 242 000 tons to be met by emergency and programme food aid.

Food vulnerability will remain high despite a larger production, because of lack of purchasing power in urban and rural areas, lack of infrastructure (roads, vehicles, sacks) and restricted freedom of circulation of traders.

The Mission has, therefore, identified a requirement of 129 000 tons of emergency food aid for an estimated 1.375 million persons which is covered by supplies already in the country or in the pipeline. The net deficit to be covered by programme food aid is, therefore, 113 000 tons.

With the peace process proceeding, an environment is emerging for a move from short term/emergency assistance to rehabilitation and reconstruction. Rebuilding of the devastated agricultural and social infrastructures and assistance in terms of agricultural inputs are key priorities in this context. UN agencies, including FAO, donors and NGOs are preparing plans to make their contributions towards agricultural and social rehabilitation and development which can gain momentum once peace is firmly established.


Angola, a south-west African country bounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the west and Zaire, Zambia and Namibia respectively in the north, east and south, has a total area of 1.247 million or 124.7 million hectares, comprising three broad regions - northern, central and southern. The estimated population is 12.2 million, a figure used in the 1996 UN Updated Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Angola. There has been no population census since 1970.

Angola has a relatively large petroleum sector for sub-Saharan Africa, second only to Nigeria,. The oil production amounts to 500 000-600 000 barrels a day. Estimates vary, but oil revenues account for 75-90 percent of the country’s total export earnings and a very large proportion of government revenues. Diamonds are also an important and growing revenue earning sector. But these sectors do not generate much spin-off effects in other economic sectors, which remain constrained by severe limitation of resources and civil strife. Most of the people are dependent on the extensively disrupted agricultural sector - crops, fishing, livestock and forestry.

At the time of independence in 1975, Angola was self-sufficient in all major foodcrops. In fact, it exported significant amounts of maize, rice, bananas, coffee, sugar and palm oil. But substantial quantities of all these must now be imported. Over the past 20 years, the civil war severely disrupted the agricultural sector by destroying infrastructure, rendering agricultural land inaccessible through landmines, and causing large scale displacement of rural population. With peace, security has improved, roads are being de-mined and resettlement is beginning. Circulation of people and goods between Government-held and UNITA-held areas has also started in a few places and on an extremely limited scale. The UN agencies, bilateral donors and NGOs have been helping in various ways to cushion the suffering of the people: by feeding the vulnerable on an emergency basis, and by distributing agricultural inputs. Social and economic rehabilitation programmes, encompassing education, health, water supply, roads, agricultural input supply and agricultural infrastructure rehabilitation are presently being planned.

Employment and income earning opportunities outside agriculture are extremely limited. Hence, access to food is a serious problem for large numbers of rural and urban poor, even if supplies of food are available. Also, food surpluses available in certain areas may not be available to other deficit areas because of physical and political constraints on free circulation of people and goods. As a result, although there has been a substantial increase in estimated foodcrop production in 1995/96 compared to the past several years, significant numbers of people remain food vulnerable including both civil war-affected (refugees, internally displaced and demobilized soldiers) and poor, settled families.


The devastation wrought by twenty years of civil war has left the data-gathering capability of the public sector of Angola in tatters. Not only are vast areas of the country outside the influence of the national Government, the areas that are within Government control are for all intents and purposes just as remote, due to a lack of staff and a virtually total absence of all means to undertake useful surveys or assessments. In consequence, Crop Assessment Missions have to rely on historical and hypothetical data drawn from the MINADER planning departments adjusted by qualitative impressions gained from NGOs working in limited areas and their own restricted field visits.

This year the comparative peace afforded by the reconciliation process offered the Mission much greater freedom of movement to observe and measure the situation in both Government and UNITA controlled territories in 11 out of 18 provinces. As areas have become accessible through mutual agreement and de-mining of roads, international agencies and NGOs have significantly increased their activities throughout the country, thereby enhancing the general understanding of prevailing conditions. By the same token, this Mission was able to travel by road throughout the provinces visited and conduct their own analyses and hold their own discussions with farmers, traders and officials.

Rainfall during the 1995/96 cropping season

Compared to neighbouring countries, the rainfall pattern in Angola is relatively stable. The Northern and Central Regions invariably receive enough rain to guarantee a wide range of crops during growing seasons that span from six to nine months of the year, depending on agro-ecological conditions. The Southern Region, however, is much more restricted in its potential for production, reflecting a drastically decreasing pattern of annual rainfall in the country from 1 600 mm near the Zairean border in the north-east to less than 100 mm close to the Namibian border in the south-west.

The rainfall this year, as indicated by records received by the Mission in-country and continuous international monitoring in the Region, has followed the usual pattern, involving initiation in the last quarter of 1995, a dry spell in December and then rains of varying intensity until rain-stop from March onwards according to locality.

In most provinces the rains arrived on time in September and October, encouraging planting of maize in the higher lands of the central plateau and the planting of sorghum and millet further south.

A dry period in December/January in Huambo and neighbouring provinces at tasselling, adversely affected seed formation in the first planted crops and required replanting of some of the November planted maize. However, subsequent improvement and the continuation of a reasonable distribution of rain both by time and space in the same areas led to a much better performance from the January and February planted crops on the intermediate lands and from those planted in February and March in the low-lying alluvial plains.

During the field visits, the Mission reported large scale flooding of low lying plans in Bengo, which has apparently reduced the area under cultivation in that province. Conversely, premature cessation of rains in the Southern provinces of Namibe, Cunene and in the southern parts of Cuando Cubango are likely to have reduced sorghum and millet yields in these areas.

Overall, the general picture would seem to conform to the expected pattern and be in keeping with the better rainfall this year reported throughout the SADC region.

Area planted

The area planted to cereals and pulses is estimated to have expanded in all Government-controlled areas due to the increased availability of improved seeds and tools and improved access and security. However, it should be understood that at present local seeds are still the mainstay of production for all crops for 80-90 percent of the farmers. Local seeds are often preferred by farmers as they out-perform imported hybrids without fertilizers.

Given that this transition period dictates that most areas are hand cultivated, the desperate shortage of simple hand tools (hoes, machete and file) not only reduces the expansion of cultivated land where expansion is possible, but also disturbs the timeliness and quality of cultivation where land is in limited supply.

In UNITA controlled territory, a similar situation pertains but farmers have even less access to improved seeds or other inputs. A lack of access to markets may also have become a significant disincentive for production expansion. As a result, the Mission estimates that the area actually producing cereals and pulses is some 9 percent below last year's estimates derived from MINADER's 1994/95 projections.

The 1995/96 area estimates were cross-checked by province against UN estimates of the agriculturally active population assuming 1992 average farm sizes and found to be well within the calculated capability.


The yields observed and measured by the Mission in 11 out of 18 provinces suggest a marked improvement over previously reported yields throughout the country. As such, they are much more in accord with recorded yields in neighbouring countries with similar agro-ecological conditions.

Planting densities of maize, sorghum and millet were seen to conform to expected patterns (e.g. maize - 25 000 plants/ha low rainfall areas to 40 000-50 000 plants/ha high rainfall areas) in all provinces visited and farming standards were noted to be universally high given the difficulties mentioned above. Additional limitations include the total absence of fertilizer and plant protection chemicals. In consequence, the anticipated average maize yields of the most productive provinces are not expected to be above 0.9 tons/ha, although in naturally fertile areas crops producing two or three times such levels were noted regularly. In the drier provinces of Cunene and Namibe, yields as low as 0.2 tons/ha were reported as normal by a variety of organizations. Yields in the north of Cuando Cubango were, however, noted by the Mission to be at least four times as high as that very low level.

The lack of fertilizer in any form was seen to be significantly reducing the yields in the intensively farmed areas surrounding Government controlled towns, which have been continuously cropped for decades, and in fields (other than newly cultivated land or in alluvial basins) in UNITA controlled areas which had not had the benefit of household or livestock wastes. The Mission was impressed by the application of “double digging” in such areas involving a digging-in of weeds and stover immediately after harvest in an attempt to maintain a degree of soil fertility, particularly as the hoes used were invariably a third of their original size due to wear and very blunt due to a lack of files.

No outbreaks of migratory pest attack were reported or observed. However, the Mission felt that the absolute lack of pesticides and the means to apply them, leaves the nation's farmers exceptionally vulnerable. Non-migratory pests noted included grain borers and weevils, the latter in maize being released from on-farm stocks held over the year in UNITA controlled areas in Bie/Cuando Cubango.

Other factors restricting harvested yield noted were:

a) The application of traditional harvesting dates to introduced varieties with shorter cycles, encouraging increased non-migratory pest and fungal attacks on the standing crop.

b) Large scale robbery conducted by armed gangs apparently from both sides of the conflict, causing fields to be abandoned as well as loss of product.

c) Wanton destruction of crop by groups of armed dissenters.

d) Absence (or high cost) of farm labour in areas where small-scale producers are active.

Production forecast

Harvesting or plant maturity was well advanced in all provinces visited by the Mission. Improved freedom of movement also enabled the Mission to drive through production areas in all three production regions (North, Central and South), to observe and measure yields and to involve farmers in direct estimates of their harvests. The Mission forecasts the 1996 cereal production at 500 000 tons, of which some 80 percent will be maize and 20 percent will be sorghum and millet. This is almost double last year’s estimate of similar crops. The Mission was unable to obtain any information of the probable production of wheat or rice, although small isolated fields of the latter cereal were seen from time to time in river basins.

The production of pulses, grown in part in combination with maize and elsewhere intercropped with root and tuber crops, is thought to have increased by 24 percent to some 55 000 tons.

Table 1 provides estimates of areas and forecast production for the main cereal crops. Table 2 juxtaposes total cereals with beans and with estimates of cassava production, which has a particular significance as it is a major staple in all of the Northern and half of the Central provinces.

Table 1: Area and production of main cereal crops 1995/96

Total cereals
Area (ha) Yield (t/ha) Prod. (tons) Area (ha) Yield (t/ha) Prod. (tons) Area (ha) Yield (t/ha) Prod. (tons) Area (ha) Prod. (tons)
Northern region 110 650 0.80 89 070 0 0 0 0 110 650 89 070
Bengo 10 000 0.75 7 500 10 000 7 500
Cabinda 2 500 1.00 2 500 2 500 2 500
Kwanza Norte 20 000 0.75 15 000 20 000 15 000
Luanda 5 000 0.60 3 000 5 000 3 000
Lunda Norte 9 000 0.90 8 100 9 000 8 100
Lunda Sul 11 000 0.90 9 900 11 000 9 900
Melange 30 650 0.80 24 520 30 650 24 520
Uige 17 000 0.80 13 600 17 000 13 600
Zaire 5 500 0.90 4 950 5 500 4 950
Central Region 372 099 0.70 260 457 12 224 0.50 6 113 74 018 0.57 42 149 458 341 308 719
Benguela 70 825 0.90 63 743 1 879 0.50 940 28 768 0.60 17 261 101 472 81 944
Bie 47 274 0.60 28 364 10 345 0.50 5 173 45 250 0.55 24 888 102 869 58 425
Huambo 180 000 0.60 108 000 180 000 108 000
Kwanza Sul 49 000 0.90 44 100 49 000 44 100
Moxico 25 000 0.65 16 250 25 000 16 250
Southern Region 86 589 0.56 48 631 64 919 0.41 26 864 62 986 0.43 26 856 214 494 102 351
Huila 56 595 0.70 39 617 36 733 0.50 18 367 26 800 0.50 13 400 120 128 71 384
Cuando Cubango 11 000 0.45 4 950 5 000 0.50 2 500 13 000 0.50 6 500 29 000 13 950
Cunene 16 344 0.20 3 269 19 186 0.25 4 797 19 186 0.30 5 756 54 716 13 822
Namibe 2 650 0.30 795 4 000 0.30 1 200 4 000 0.30 1 200 10 650 3 195
TOTAL 569 338 0.70 398 158 77 143 0.43 32 977 137 004 0.50 69 005 783 485 500 140

Table 2: Area and production of main crops 1995/96

Total cereals
Total cropped
Area (ha) Prod. (tons) Area (ha) Yield (t/ha) Prod. (tons) Area (ha) Yield (t/ha) Prod. (tons) 1/ area (ha)
Northern region 110 650 89 070 63 651 0.41 26 327 185 926 3.94 732 341 360 227
Bengo 10 000 7 500 791 0.35 277 2 926 3.50 10 241 13 717
Cabinda 2 500 2 500 2 327 0.45 1 047 5 000 3.50 17 500 9 827
Kwanza Norte 20 000 15 000 10 000 0.40 4 000 6 000 3.60 21 600 36 000
Luanda 5 000 3 000 3 200 0.35 1 120 3 000 3.00 9 000 11 200
Lunda Norte 9 000 8 100 7 333 0.45 3 300 37 000 4.00 148 000 53 333
Lunda Sul 11 000 9 900 6 667 0.45 3 000 20 000 4.00 80 000 37 667
Melange 30 650 24 520 16 000 0.40 6 400 70 000 4.00 280 000 116 650
Uige 17 000 13 600 12 333 0.40 4 933 32 000 4.00 128 000 61 333
Zaire 5 500 4 950 5 000 0.45 2 250 10 000 3.80 38 000 20 500
Central Region 458 341 308 719 67 311 0.32 21 572 120 864 3.66 442 767 646 516
Benguela 101 472 81 944 11 271 0.40 4 508 4 870 3.50 17 045 117 613
Bie 102 869 58 425 15 000 0.30 4 500 10 254 3.00 30 762 128 123
Huambo 180 000 108 000 31 000 0.30 9 300 40 000 3.50 140 000 251 000
Kwanza Sul 49 000 44 100 5 040 0.35 1 764 25 740 4.00 102 960 79 780
Moxico 25 000 16 250 5 000 0.30 1 500 40 000 3.80 152 000 70 000
Southern Region 214 494 102 351 25 500 0.29 7 410 8 000 2.70 21 600 247 994
Huila 120 128 71 384 15 400 0.35 5 390 8 000 2.70 21 600 143 528
Cuando Cubango 29 000 13 950 2 200 0.20 440 31 200
Cunene 54 716 13 822 5 000 0.20 1 000 59 716
Namibe 10 650 3 195 2 900 0.20 580 13 550
TOTAL 783 485 500 140 156 462 0.35 55 309 314 790 3.80 1 196 708 1 254 737

1/ Fresh roots.

Other crops

As noted above, of other crops the most significant nationally is cassava. It is the preferred staple in 50 percent of the country and though eaten in its fresh form it is traded as dried pieces/powder. The estimated area under production is similar to last year at 315 000 hectares, with a slightly higher estimated national average yield of 3.8 tons. In general, the crop was seen to be in good order although problems with mealy bug were noted in Malange province.

Traditionally, coffee has provided the main source of income for farmers in the north-west. Despite a total collapse of the coffee growing and marketing infrastructure, the Mission observed a continuation of the tradition at peasant level in Uige and Kwanza Sul provinces, where well maintained small-scale plantations exist and yields of around 120 kg/hectare were reportedly obtained. Such activities, along with what is obviously successful widespread banana production, would seem to offer secure stepping stones upon which to base village-level economic rehabilitation in the higher rainfall areas.

Other crops of significance according to zone are sweet potato, groundnut, sugar cane and oil palm which, along with a variety of vegetables, may increase the cultivated area by a further 200 000 hectares of crops according to historical data.

For the purposes of comparison, estimates of this year’s crop production are compared with 1993/94 and 1994/95 Mission estimates for those provinces for which data were made available to previous Missions.

Table 3: Production of cereals and cassava - 1993/94 to 1995/96 (in '000 tons)

Total Cereals
Province 1993/94 1994/95 1995/96 1993/94 1994/95 1995/96 1993/94 1994/95 1995/96 1993/94 1994/95 1995/96
Benguela 54 20 64 6 - 18 60 20 82 18 35 17
Bie 12 32 28 7 - 30 19 32 58 27 123 31
Huambo 17 45 108 - - - 17 45 108 33 133 140
Huila 50 36 39 19 23 32 69 59 71 18 - 22
Kwanza Sul 32 30 44 1 - - 33 30 44 116 105 103
Malange 11 9 25 - - - 11 9 25 171 210 280
All Others 25 39 90 20 38 22 45 77 112 602 550 604
TOTAL 201 211 398 53 61 102 254 272 500 985 1 156 1 197

The table shows substantial increase in the production of cereals in 1995/96 due in the main to higher yields estimated for the Northern/Central provinces.

Livestock situation

Given the well distributed rains, a combination of field visits and remote sensing images confirm good production of forage and browse in all areas except the south-west. However, the civil war has reduced the livestock population throughout the country to such a degree that only in the traditional livestock rearing provinces of the Southern Region were there any obvious signs of extensive forage and browse utilisation. Further north, perennial grasses dominate the plains, ex-cotton plantations are rapidly becoming dense acacia forests and animals are rarely seen.

With the exception of cattle noted around the town of Matala (Huila) whose access to grazing was restricted by large areas of millet/sorghum cultivation, all livestock noted during field visits were in extremely good condition. Animal traction was said to be on the increase in Huila, Cuando Cubango and Bie. Farmers were reported by UNITA agricultural delegates to be bartering farm products for oxen and a shortages of ploughshares was already noted as a problem in Bie.

Animal diseases of consequence include endemic trypanosomiasis in the Northern/Central provinces and reported outbreaks of “peste” in Cunene. As most veterinary services have collapsed and as only one province (Huila) reported the existence of a vaccination campaign during the 1995/96 season, any large scale movement of stock from South to Central areas or increases in stocking density are likely to add to the vulnerability of livestock farmers and animal traction users unless action is taken to resume regular campaigns against rinderpest and PPR.

No details were available on use of grains in livestock feed, and although the abundant forage and browse would seem to be more than enough for the ruminant population, the back-yard and small-scale pig and poultry production, noted during field visits require grain. A survey conducted in the four Southern provinces suggests that from 15-50 percent of the households (depending on Province) have five chicken, which may add as much as 350g per day to household grain use.


There are three main geographic regions in Angola:

Northern Region

The provinces in the Northern region are characterised by root, tuber and perennial cash crop production supported by a reliable rainfall of over 1 000 mm in all areas. With soil types and altitude varying from coastal and river valley clay basins to ferralitic highland plains speckled with alluvial low-lying areas, the range of agro-ecological zones is great and has resulted in a complicated mixture of production possibilities. The dominant staple crop is cassava, with banana and sweet potato providing alternative options on a minor scale. The region accounts for an estimated 70 percent of the national cassava population with no significant (recorded) production of sorghum and millet. Maize, on the other hand, is estimated to be produced in significant quantities in all provinces, increasing in importance from north to south. The preferred variety of maize for the region is “Katete”, a local variety originally from Bengo, ideally suited for planting as a “second season” crop due to its short cycle. Production from the Region is estimated by the Mission at 89 000 tons of maize and 732 000 tons of cassava. An estimated 65 percent of the cereal and cassava production is thought to be in UNITA controlled territory.

Bengo: Area cropped was reduced due to substantial flooding in February and March in low-lying areas. Elsewhere, there was sufficient rain to support good germination and guarantee reasonable crops. No significant pests or diseases of the major staple were noted. Unfortunately, armed groups were reported to be robbing the settled peasants and small-scale farmers in both Government held and UNITA areas, which was said to be a powerful disincentive to expansion. Nevertheless, an independent survey suggests an increase in area planted and an increasing demand for inputs, particularly hand tools and fertilizers for the entirely hand-cultivated crops.

Cabinda: No information was received regarding the state of production in Cabinda, therefore MINADER planning data have been used to estimate area. Yield has been based on performance under similar circumstances elsewhere in the country noted by the Mission and NGOs.

Kwanza Norte: Although not visited by the Mission, qualitative and quantitative assessments of the 1995/96 season were received from independent sources. The initial rains sustained good germination and plant development on the predominantly hand cultivated farms, resulting in normal production. No pests or diseases of any significance were reported.

Luanda: Despite its proximity to MINADER headquarters and the security of the province, no information was available to the Mission from MINADER sources, which indicates the tragic state of data collection. It would seem, however, that the farmers in the area are increasingly diversifying to meet the needs of the capital, particularly with regard to fruit and vegetable production. Current prices are encouraging investment in irrigation schemes. Maize production is thought to be lower than the inland provinces unless supplementary irrigation is provided. Limited supplies of pesticides and fungicides were said to be available from the private sector at a high price.

Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul: These predominantly cassava producing areas were not visited by the Mission. Vegetative indices prepared from remote sensing data indicate normal well-distributed rainfall which is predicted to have resulted in an average or better than average harvest. No incidents of untoward natural phenomena or significant pest or disease attacks were reported to the Mission. However, it is suggested that the presence of land mines is limiting access to agricultural land near the Zairean border and around the major towns.

Melange: Reasonable and well-distributed rains throughout the long growing season have resulted in good productivity disturbed only by the presence of the mealy bug (cassava) which was reported to the Mission as the only significant pest in the Province. However, with 12 of the 14 municipalities in the Province under UNITA control, unless freedom of circulation is guaranteed, little of the surplus production will be available for general use. The continuous enclosed state of Government-controlled areas has apparently given rise to large scale robbing of major crops before maturation is complete. Incidents of wanton destruction of cassava before establishment were also reported to the Mission. On a more positive note, good crops of maize were observed with yields of over 1 ton/ha commonplace.

Uige: Apart from isolated incidents of water-logging in some low-lying areas, the Province of Uige was not subject to deleterious effects due to the season’s rainfall. In keeping with the other Northern provinces, crops grew well and good yields are expected from what are predominantly hand cultivated fields planted with local varieties. Increased distribution of seeds and tools occurred through a variety of organizations coordinated by UCAH. There is, nevertheless, a drastic shortage of tools in both Government and UNITA controlled areas. The absence of files was noted as being particularly important, as blunt hoes and machetes reduce the cultivating power of households that have tools and seriously affect the timeliness and quality of cultivating and weeding.

The last migratory pest attack in the Province was recorded in 1978; no major incidence of pests or diseases were noted by the Mission for the 1995/96 season. No fertilizers or agricultural chemicals were available during the year.

Commercial crops such as coffee and banana, oil palm and sugar cane were productive this year under the “non-commercial” conditions of their management. The two former crops made significant contributions to the income of most of the settled peasants of the province with yields of coffee estimated at 120 kg/ha. Bags of ground coffee were noted in Uige market for sale at U.S.$ 1 equivalent/kg. Consultations between Government, UNITA and NGOs fostered by UCAH seemed to be having the desired effect of reducing hostility and easing freedom of circulation of farm produce and supplies between UNITA and government controlled areas.

Zaire: No information was available on production in Zaire. Historical/MINADER planning data, qualified by crop performance this year in similar areas, have been used to estimates production in the Province.

Central Region

The Central Region is recognized as the major cereal producing region of the country, with an estimated contribution of 60 percent of this year’s national cereal crop. The area also produces cassava, beans, sugar cane, sweet potatoes and a variety of other vegetables. The bulk of these crops are grown on the highland slopes and the alluvial plains of the river valleys of the central plateau, which, with an altitude ranging from 1 000 m to 2 000 m and with a normal rainfall over 1 000 mm, are both well suited for cereal production. The highland slopes are, however, highly susceptible to erosion. Unfortunately no anti-erosion practices were seen by the Mission or reported as being encouraged by any organization involved in rehabilitation. It is, therefore, strongly recommended that input supply should be conditional upon the adoption of anti-erosion practices before it is too late.

The Mission was informed that independent surveys indicated that an extension of the normal expected dry spell in December reduced production of early sown (September/October) maize, resulting in lower than expected yields in some areas with poor water holding capacity. By contrast, yields observed by the Mission were generally good and in parts of Kwanza Sul and Benguela very good indeed.

Although the bulk of the area is farmed manually by peasant farmers, “small-scale” farmers producing for the market still exist, cultivating either by hand (with gangs of paid labourers) or using animal traction (pairs of bullocks) or, in a few isolated cases, using tractors (noted in both UNITA and Government areas). Despite such activities and the distribution of improved seeds, no fertilizers have been available this year and no farmers have had access to agricultural chemicals for plant protection. Similarly, shortages of tools and spare parts were said to be restricting both area under cultivation and the quality and timeliness of the work, particularly where attempts were being made to expand cultivation into areas long left fallow due to insecurity.

The Mission estimated harvest for the Region is 309 000 tons of cereals and 646 000 tons of cassava, of which some 50 percent is likely to be produced in UNITA controlled territory.

Benguela: Germination of the maize crop was generally good and, despite a shortage of tools, the area under cultivation in Government-controlled areas increased. Reasonable yields for the “non-fertilizer” conditions are expected as no significant pest or disease attacks were noted. Around 40 percent of farmers felt that a dry spell in December/January would reduced the early sown maize crop in areas with poor water holding capacity and late sown maize crops. Millet and sorghum crops were noted by the Mission to be in good condition.

Bie: The province of Bie may well be described as a transition region between the wetter areas of the North and the drier areas of the South. With an estimated cropped area of 128 000 hectares, it accommodates roots and tubers as well as all the major cereals.

The Mission noted increased use of animal traction in UNITA controlled areas and what appeared to be a positive approach to food circulation which had resulted in the establishment of a “trading post” of small traders’ huts in Dumbo (Bie/Cuando Cubango border) which was attracting agricultural produce (cereals, beans, cassava, non-timber forest products) from miles around as confirmed by the traces of “roller-bearing” hand carts on the newly opened asphalt road stretching 30+ km. Last year’s maize and dried cassava were noted as the main commodities for sale.

Generally in Bie it was reported to the Mission that the early crops were good but that as the rains had stopped for the most part in late March, some late crops on low water holding soils would give poor yields, particularly as some of the small-scale producers had delayed planting in the hope of the arrival of compound fertilizers.

No significant crop pest or disease attacks were noted. All animals seen by the Mission were in very good condition as forage and browse was plentiful and the stocking density was low.

Huambo: Despite a reported extended dry spell in December/January, which, with a premature rain-stop in March, reduced yields of the early sown maize crop, as the performance of later sown maize and other cereals on the low-lying areas, estimated at 35 percent of the agricultural land, was noted as good, a fair level of production is estimated from Huambo province, maintaining its position as the largest producer of cereals in the country. Again distributed inputs of tools and improved seeds are in short supply, reaching some 10 percent of the farmers, and neither fertilizers nor agricultural chemicals were available to the farming community this season. On the positive side, no pests or diseases of any significance were noted. Performance in the UNITA controlled areas was observed to be more affected by lack of fertilizer than by lack of rain in the continuously cropped areas visited.

Kwanza Sul: The “transect” driven by the Mission from Benguela to the centre of Kwanza Sul afforded an excellent opportunity to observe small scale low input maize production at its best. Well ordered, weed-free fields were the rule rather than the exception. Spot checks confirmed a lack of pests and diseases and the probability of yields way over 1.5 tons in many places. Local knowledge suggests, however, that other areas were less productive, which has reduced Mission estimates for the province. The rain forest of the escarpment leading to the central plateau were also noted as highly productive with an abundance of coffee, bananas, avocados and other fruits.

Moxico: Extending from the centre of the country to the Zairean border in the east, the province of Moxico is considered to be the area with the least production potential of the high plateau provinces due to its ferralitic and sandy soils. Nevertheless, a 6-7 month rainy season generally guarantees between 800 mm and 1 400 mm of rainfall which, at 1 000 m to 1 500 m asl ensures regular production of cassava, maize, beans, ground nuts, millet and sweet potatoes. This year, records indicate well-distributed rains from September to March coinciding with the main growing season.

In addition to the crops mentioned above, commercial crops grown in Moxico include bananas and sugar cane. Factors limiting production were identified by the Mission as the absence of fertilizers and agricultural chemicals for plant protection. It was also felt by independent sources that the presence of land mines was restricting agricultural expansion around the major towns, particularly Luena and near the Zairean border and that robbing by armed groups was a significant disincentive to production.

Southern Region

Identified as the least agriculturally productive region of the country because of the comparative lack of rainfall, the Southern Region is also the least populated. It encompasses an arid and semi-arid steppe between the border with Namibia to the south, the coastal plains to the west and the Central plateau to the north. Situated at around 1 000 m asl with a rainfall ranging from <100 mm in the south-west to 800 mm in the north/north-east, the average expected growing season ranges from 0-6 months.

Foodcrops grown range from a combination of cereals and roots and tubers in Huila and in the northern zone of Cuando Cubango, to predominantly millet and sorghum in Cunene and Namibe and the southern zones of Cuando Cubango. Livestock production is important throughout the province; a recent NGO survey suggests that livestock ownership reaches as high as 60-72 percent in some municipalities in the drier area.

The rainfall pattern experienced this year suggests a late and uneven start to the rains which may have caused replanting in some areas in January. Recovery of rains in February assisted in boosting production in those plants surviving. Production from the Southern Region is estimated at 102 000 tons of cereals and 22 000 tons of cassava, of which 30 percent is thought to be produced in UNITA controlled areas.

Huila: Located in the north-west of the region, Huila usually enjoys a greater rainfall than the other provinces in the Region. This year the rain pattern conformed to the expected pattern, with an anticipated grain reduction in maize grown on the lighter soils. Maize crops on heavier soils inspected by the Mission were estimated as producing around 1 ton/ha a yield which was confirmed in detailed discussions with local authorities in central municipalities of the province.

During an east-west trip across the western half of the province, the principal observations made by the Mission were of vast areas of well grown millet and cattle in very good condition.

The northern municipalities of the province are likely to have been more productive with rainfall estimated at between 800-1 100 mm, but access is limited and free circulation of traders is presently impossible.

Although seeds and tools were distributed by NGOs in Government controlled areas, the cultural practices are considered by agricultural officials to be 95 percent traditional. Pesticides were said to have been available, at a price, for vegetable producers around Lubango, however no other forms of inputs were used during the 1995/96 season.

Regarding livestock, Huila reported that a vaccination campaign had been conducted in February 1995 but no instructions or means had been received to conduct a similar campaign in 1996.

The Mission observed groups of farmers clearing a disused irrigation canal in Matala, a spontaneous activity designed to rehabilitate the 2 500 hectare scheme. To avoid storing up problems for the future, the Mission strongly recommends that the drainage canals are put into good working order before the irrigation canals are rehabilitated.

Cuando Cubango: Extending from the central plateau to the north to the border with Namibia to the south and incorporating part of the drier eastern steppe, the province generally has a rainfall gradient from around 1 000 mm in the north, with a dry period in June, July and August, to 600 mm in the south.

The cropping patterns reflect the change as maize gives way to sorghum and millet, and cassava is found only in the northern municipalities.

Factors affecting production in the province noted were a dry spell in November/December which affected seed formation in early sown maize and a premature rain-stop which reduced yields of cereals on the lighter soils. Seeds and tools were distributed in both Government and UNITA controlled areas. However, the majority of farmers still used local seed and even in the well used soils around Menonge good stands of sorghum were noted. No other inputs were available to farmers during the season.

In UNITA controlled areas, surpluses of maize and cassava left over from the previous year were becoming available to the population in Government controlled zones through the opening of the Menonge-Chitembo road and the movement of traders into UNITA territory with goods to barter. No migratory pest outbreaks were noted and although non-migratory pests were present (grain borers, weevils) no specific concerns were brought to the attention of the Mission, although concern was expressed in UNITA controlled areas regarding the absence of protective chemicals for stored grains.

Cunene: Located next to the Namibian border, Cunene generally receives from 600 mm to 800 mm of rain, increasing from south to north. Although not visited by the Mission, information gained from a detailed NGO survey undertaken in the province during the season was provided to the Mission to supplement information received from MINADER.

The rains arrived late and were erratic, causing the need for replanting in some areas, whilst in other areas the rain stopped in February as a result, the expected average yields are low. The main crops grown include maize, sorghum, millet, beans and groundnuts, usually grown in combinations.

Animal traction is used by 30 percent of the population, reflecting the fact that cattle rearing is a normal activity. A high rate of cattle mortality was noted, attributed to rinderpest and contagious pleural pneumonia, which strongly suggests that vaccination campaigns should be mounted as soon as possible, not only in Cunene but also in the neighbouring provinces to avoid the spread of the disease, particularly if farmers from Bie are beginning to restock from southern herds.

Namibe: Located in the south-west corner of the country, Namibe is the driest province with rainfall rarely reaching 400 mm except along the western borders with Huila and Cunene. Last year’s Mission reported good production of sorghum and millet. However, this year’s returns from MINADER suggest yields as low as 200-300 kg/ha, reflecting a slow start and an early finish to this year’s rains. The Mission did not visit Namibe and did not receive any supplementary information about the province. As a result, the figures used in the balance sheet as based on historical/MINADER planning data.


Table 4 provides cereal supply/demand balance sheet for the 1996/97 marketing year (April/March).

Table 4: Angola: Cereal balance sheet 1996/97 ('000 tons)

Domestic production 500
Stock drawdown -
Total domestic availability 500
Food use 854
Losses and other uses 88
Total domestic utilization 942
Import requirement 442
Anticipated commercial imports (both public and private) 200
Food aid, of which: 242
- Emergency food aid 129
- Programme food aid 113

It has been ascertained from government officials that no foodgrain stocks are held by either the central government or the provincial governments. It is possible that some farmers and traders may carry some stocks, but there is no information as to their quantity or quality.

Historically, about 60 percent of the total calorie intake in Angola is derived from cereals and cassava, with 30 percent coming from each, the expected intake of grain is around 70 kg/head/year. Sweet potatoes, pulses, bananas, fish and meat provide the balance. For 1996/97, 70 kg of cereals is allowed for estimating food use of cereals. For the estimated population of 12.2 million, the total cereal food use, therefore, works out to be 854 000 tons.

Given that 80 percent of the cereal production is maize, storage losses will be high, particularly as on-farm storage is very poor. Other uses of home-produced grain include seeds for the coming year, used by an estimated 80-90 percent of the farmers, and feed for back-yard poultry and pigs. The Mission, therefore, estimates losses and other uses of seeds during 1996/97 marketing year at 17.5 percent or 87 500 tons. The total utilization, therefore, works out to be 941 500 tons. Matching this against the available domestic supply generates an import requirement of 441 500 tons.

Import requirements of 176 000 tons of rice and 220 000 tons of maize meal were estimated by the Ministry of Commerce and 108 000 tons of wheat flour by the Ministry of Industry for 1996. However, in 1995, only 33 100 tons of rice and 5 800 tons of maize meal were imported by the Government; information on wheat flour imports by the Government in 1995 was not available. Discussions with officials of the two ministries indicate that a total of 50 000-60 000 tons of cereal imports by the Government in 1996/97 may be a fair assumption. Data on private sector imports are not available, but discussions with a number of traders indicate that 140 000 tons of cereals in different forms will be imported. The Mission considers it reasonable to project that the total public and private commercial imports of cereals in 1996/97 will be in the order of 200 000 tons. The food aid requirement is, therefore, 242 000 tons. Allowing for the proposed emergency food aid (cereal) of 129 000 tons, a shortfall of 113 000 tons of cereals remains, which may be provided through programme food aid


The Mission identifies 1 375 000 persons as needing emergency food aid from April 1996 to March 1997, as follows:

The distribution of beneficiaries by category and by province is given in Table 5, and emergency food aid requirements are summarized by caseload in Table 6.

These food aid needs will be continuously reassessed and readjusted by the National Food Aid Coordination working group chaired by WFP and with the participation of the Government, UNITA, UN Agencies, NGOs and donors.

With food aid carry-over stocks at 31 March 1996 from WFP and NGOs of 37 311 tons of maize, 5 652 tons of pulses, 5 767 tons of vegetable oil and 2 065 tons of blended food; and 105 572 tons of maize, 13 835 tons of pulses, 5 750 tons of vegetable oil and 1 591 tons of blended food in the pipeline an emergency gap of 282 tons of pulses, 1 977 tons of vegetable oil and 9 464 tons of blended food (CSB) is to be resourced. The emergency cereal need of 129 084 tons of maize is already covered.

Table 5: Number of beneficiaries (in thousands)

Province IDPs and
Quartering Demobilisation Returnees Rehabilit. Total Therapeutic and
suppl. feeding
Bengo 63 - 12 75 1
Benguela 218 6 29 253 31
Bie 47 20 25 92 8
Cabinda - - - - -
Cuando C 61 15 21 97 1
Cunene 30 - 1 31 0
Huambo 27 21 36 84 12
Huila 137 10 50 197 50
Kw. N. 14 6 14 34 2
Kw. S. 20 8 16 45 1
Luanda 7 - 7 14 13
Lunda N. - - 2 2 1
Lunda S. 10 - 3 13 5
Malanje 75 11 33 119 30
Moxico 81 11 11 103 9
Namibe 10 - 1 11 4
Uige 2 13 8 24 2
Zaire 2 5 1 7 1
Total 804 127 74 100 270 1 375 170

Table 6: Emergency food aid requirements per caseload (in tons/year)

Maize Pulses Veg Oil CSB Total
IDPs and war-affected 70 689 11 588 7 243 - 89 520
Quartering 13 709 1 966 1 142 - 16 817
Demobilisation 6 624 883 552 - 8 059
Returnees 10 800 1 440 900 - 13 140
Rehabilit. 27 262 3 892 2 432 5 829 39 415
Therapeutic/suppl. feeding - - 1 225 7 291 8 516
Total 129 084 19 769 13 494 13 120 175 467


For the displaced people, war affected population and refugees/returnees, the daily ration for a period of one year is: 300 g maize, 40 g pulses, 25 g vegetable oil. In the provinces of Bengo, Benguela, Cuando Cubango, Kwanza Norte, Kwanza Sul, Malanje the daily ration of maize is 200 g. For the UNITA soldiers in the quartering areas it is proposed that the daily ration of 300 g of maize, 50 g of beans and 25 g of vegetable oil is provided for 150 days. Their dependent family members will each receive for the same period a ration of 300 g maize, 40 g pulses and 25 g vegetable oil. After leaving the quartering areas (UNITA soldiers) and barracks (Govt.soldiers) the 100 000 demobilised soldiers will receive a family ration for three months to be followed by an individual ration for a further nine months.

The supplementary feeding ration for one year is 100 g Corn Soya Blend, 20 g vegetable oil and 10 g sugar. The therapeutic feeding daily ration is 200 g CSB, 20 g vegetable oil and 10 g sugar.

For the rehabilitation activities (food-for-work) the individual ration is 400 g of maize, 40 g of beans and 25 g of vegetable oil. One worker from each household will receive five individual rations. For the beneficiaries of the school feeding and Mother and Child Health (MCH), a daily ration of 200 g of maize, 100 g of CSB and 25 g of vegetable oil will be distributed.


Since 1993, WFP implemented a country-wide logistics system capable of distributing up to 20 000 tons by air and road per month. WFP transports the food from the ports to warehouses in the capitals of the provinces. The distribution of the commodities from the provincial warehouses is made by local and international NGOs with which WFP has cooperation agreements.

During the period 1994/95, the Swedrelief project opened the major road corridors. Presently 80 percent of the deliveries to the provinces are made by road and airlifts are only performed to Luena (Moxico). The Landside Transport, Storage and Handling costs (LTSH) were reduced from U.S.$ 236 per ton at beginning 1995 to U.S.$ 195 per ton as now.

The three main Angolan ports have the following daily discharge rates: 600 tons for Luanda, 600 tons for Namibe and 500 tons for Lobito.

Internally displaced persons

About 1.3 million people have been identified as internally displaced persons. A survey undertaken by UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in four neighbouring countries and IDP camps showed that 51 percent of migrants are male. 56.5 percent of the migrants are under 14 years old. The infant-group (0 to 4 years) is also numerous (about 20 percent). Before being displaced 46.5 percent of the adults were farmers and 12.5 percent other workers.

After more than one year since the signature of the Lusaka Protocol, only about 150 000 IDPs have returned to their place of origin, for lack of security, safety or accessibility. After increasing freedom of movement it is foreseen that about 700 000 IDPs could return to their homes before the beginning of the next rainy season in September. It is planned that they will be supported with food rations until their first harvest. They will also receive seeds and tools.

Rehabilitation activities

The beneficiaries of the emergency food aid are mainly people who have been displaced from their places of origin or who have had their lives completely disrupted by the civil war. The primary objective of these persons now is to build for the future by re-establishing their homes, lands and their communities.

Emergency food aid will be aimed at rural areas as part of a short-term package of food and non-food assistance to returning displaced persons to assist them in rebuilding their homes, preparing and cultivating their fields. Food-for-work activities will be promoted for the reconstruction of secondary roads, irrigation projects, the rehabilitation of social infrastructure. Emergency school feeding will be undertaken in areas where children are food-insecure at the family level, and where the provision of a school meal will help to reactivate the education sector. In the primary health sector it is proposed to promote activities which encourage women to go to health centres and receive pre- and post-natal care and to provide a nutritional supplement to expectant and nursing mothers and their young children.

This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources and is for official use only. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required.

Abdur Rashid B. Szynalski
Chief, GIEWS FAO Director, OP, WFP
Telex 610181 FAO I Telex: 626675 WFP I
Fax: 0039-6-5225-4495 Fax: 0039-6-5228-2837

Rome, 27 May 1996

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