Angola experienced unfavourable weather conditions due to what is said to be the worst drought in 30 years, despite the beneficial rainfall that poured at the beginning of the season in October and November 2020 last year.
Seasonal rainfall was poorly distributed and brief as strained vegetation conditions were scrutinised ahead of the harvest in most cropped areas hence raising a red flag that crop yields are likely to be below average. Rangelands for livestock throughout the country were also affected as poor vegetation and reduced availability of water had a negative touch on the livestock body condition and production.
Another additional risk to the crop and livestock production in 2021 is the infestations of African Migratory Locust (AML), as indicated in the country’s reports, it’s stated that AML swarms increased between January and March 2021 in Southern eastern areas such as in the Cuando Cubango Province.
However, the detailed information of the region affected by the AMLs is not available hence why the government is currently carrying out an evaluation of the affected regions in order to establish actual data that states the level of infestation and scrutinises the damage to crops made.
Even though the agricultural sector has potential for growth, the sector is under-developed and inefficiently productive, also contributes 6.7% to the GDP regardless the fact that the sector employs 50% of the population.
About a third of Angola’s arable land is used for harvests and a certain percentage of that, which is 100,000 out of 5 million hectares, benefit from machinery or animal traction for ploughing and harvesting.
Cotton and coffee are considered to be the major industrial crops as the government had recently invested in coffee, sugarcane and ethanol production which will most likely provide a helping hand into diversifying agricultural revenues and exports.
The agricultural structure for Angola is majorly made up of subsistence farming and so due to the Covid-19 pandemic, national lockdowns and travelling restrictions imposed, most farmers faced challenges which include closure of shops, not being able access transport and inputs for crop production such as seeds, tools, fertilisers and the likes for a certain time period.
As stated by a recent Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping by the World Food Programme, an estimation of 3.8 million people as of January 2021 had inefficient food supplies and low food consumption. It was also said that 62% of the households had to be innovative in the sense that savings had to be spent, reduced consumption of essential necessities had to be done in order to cope with the crisis.
The dilemma is expected to escalate due to the drought that most likely reduced the 2021 agricultural output and the economic halt and reverse caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
As an objective to provide access to food for vulnerable households that were most devoured financially by the pandemic, the government commenced the first phase of the Social Cash Transfer Programme last year in May 2020 and the programme makes monthly disbursements of about USD14 to vulnerable households. The programme also assisted 1.6 million households in 2020 and visions itself to support 700,000 households in 2021.