Food security and animal health in Angola, Africa’s second biggest oil exporter, remain as some of the biggest challenges the country is facing. The Strengthening of Livestock Services in Angola (SANGA) project, led by FAO and co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the Institute of Veterinary Services (ISV) of Angola, is looking to narrow that gap regarding livestock services delivery, by addressing animal production and health issues. Within the Framework of its mandate the FAO is utilising its experience from other countries to develop a new unprecedented animal health system for Angola, built on a private-public partnership between the Institute of Veterinary Service (public) and Animal Health Auxiliaries (private). Livestock is exceptionally important for people in Angola. For many communities livestock represents a major source of income and food security. This project will help formulate a strategy for agricultural innovation in addition to training some 120 animal health auxiliaries and more than 20 veterinary technicians.
In 2000 Angola signed the Millennium Declaration alongside 190 other countries signifying its intention to cut poverty by half, provide food to all families and education for all children by 2015.
Under the FAO/EU project, livestock keepers, animal health auxiliaries and veterinary technicians receive technical assistance and short-term training, both of which are key to developing agriculture and food security.
Many livestock keepers find their livelihoods at risk because of a lack of reliable veterinary services, together with conflict-related security concerns and natural disasters. Both of which are key to developing agriculture and food security.
In Angola, animal health auxiliaries (named as “Tratadores de Gado” in Portuguese) work with livestock at municipality level, building a network with breeders. They perform their duties under the supervision of veterinary technicians that are public officials at district level.
This model of veterinary support is based on breeders’ professional and commercial skills. “Tratadores de Gado” can exercise their own veterinary activities by advising breeders on animal treatment and selling veterinary medicines.
To ensure that this new system is efficient and economically sustainable, “Tratadores de Gado” have to be trained and have to develop a range of different skills.
Furthermore, the SANGA Project supplies “Tratadores de Gado” with a kit of veterinary medicines and tools to enhance their commercial activities.
Towards a sustainable approach
The system can only be sustained if “Tratadores de Gado” are paid for their services by the breeders, which in the past has been heavily reliant on government subsidy.
FAO is working to communicate the potential benefits associated with the benefits of a better quality veterinary service and an increase in the availability of medicines in the veterinary support system that would result from the involvement of herders.
The delivery of drugs currently takes place through a network of veterinary pharmacies equipped with solar cooling systems.
A more resilient and productive livestock system
Over the last months, a multitude of activities have been carried out: 15 Municipal Veterinary Pharmacies were rehabilitated and equipped, solar systems were installed in the refrigerating rooms of Cunene and Lubango and other pharmacies were provided with solar refrigerators to store vaccines.
As the project is now coming to an end, veterinary tools are diffusing into municipalities’ pharmacies providing herders with the right tools to treat their animals.
Furthermore, international experts in collaboration with ISV technicians are monitoring the capital restitution (supplied through the veterinary medicines and tools).
This project represents the first effort to build a network of veterinary services at municipality level in Angola that aims to increase livestock productivity and the resilience of pastoral communities.