19 September 2003, Rome/Nairobi --
Almost 2 million Angolans will receive agricultural emergency
assistance in the next few weeks before the start of the rainy
season, FAO said today.
FAO will provide
agricultural kits to farmers in 14 of the 18 provinces in
Angola. The kits will include locally adapted varieties of
maize, beans, vegetable, millet and sorghum seeds, and
agricultural tools such as hoes and machetes.
Other humanitarian organizations working in Angola
will distribute an additional 300 000 kits, the total will be
some 600 000 kits.
In what is
FAO's largest operation in Africa, approximately 5 000
tonnes of inputs will be distributed to the most remote and
isolated villages, where pockets of extreme vulnerability still
"Through this assistance,
farmers and their families will be able to cultivate their land
and produce food for several months," said FAO's
Emergency Coordinator in Angola, Marco Giovannoni.
Daily life remains difficult
"The return of farmers to their
villages has been a phenomenon on an enormous scale,"
Giovannoni said. "There is a great sense of relief that
the war is over, but daily life remains difficult for the vast
majority of Angolan people. The supply of seeds and tools is an
essential contribution to improve the living conditions, food
security and self-reliance of people in rural areas."
After three decades of war and a year and a
half of peace, Angolans have started to clear their abandoned
lands, to replant their fields and to build more durable houses
than the shelters that millions of people were forced to live in
during the war.
The government has said
that some 3.3 million formerly displaced people have already
been resettled and that many others, including a significant
number of former UNITA soldiers who have now been demobilized,
have already returned to their homes before the start of the
rainy season in September.
FAO said that,
in collaboration with its partners, among them many
non-governmental organizations, it will distribute 50 000
agricultural kits to these demobilized, former UNITA soldiers.
Using funds donated by the World Bank, distributions will start
Agricultural households in
Angola still face a number of challenges, including providing
surplus food for their families and infrastructure problems.
National and domestic seed production in
the country is limited, and purchasing imported seeds often
increases local food prices, to the detriment of already
economically fragile rural households.
To help offset this structural deficiency, FAO is
supporting seed multiplication programmes in villages, which
will help families reduce their dependence on emergency
assistance and humanitarian aid and move towards self-sustenance
FAO has also announced
plans to support the rehabilitation of livestock herds in
Angola, which have been decimated by the 27-year-long war.
Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, the European
Union, as well as UNDP, the World Bank, UNHCR and USAID have
contributed $11.3 million to FAO's emergency projects in
Information Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570