Angola is mostly an agricultural country. It was a global reference for the production of coffee — until three decades of civil war destroyed everything: infrastructure, knowledge, resources…
One of the main problems angolans face and that keeps them from producing sufficient food for themselves is a lack of quality seeds. Seed is the most fundamental element of farming. The only good quality seeds that exist in Angola are imported from countries like Brazil and their prices are so high that poor communities cannot afford them. As a result, poor harvests lead to levels of hunger and malnutrition in rural areas that are extremely high: for example, in the province of Huambo, 90% of the population endures famine.
For several years, we have been working to develop local production of and a local market for quality seed. Operating field schools that teach farmers how to select seed and then how to become producers of quality seeds in the future, the aim has been to guarantee that these new seeds would be sold by local farmers at affordable prices in their communities, ensuring that even the poorest farmers in Angola can obtain them.
Quality seeds stores to fight against hunger
In August, working closely with Angolan farmers, we took an important step toward ending hunger. We witnessed the opening of the first seed store: ‘Sementes do Planalto’.
Many years ago, focusing on the most vulnerable farmers, we launched a community ‘seed bank’. We showed them how to select quality seeds, store them and treat them. Through credit in kind, the community was able to multiply the quality seeds they produced and build up a reserve of good seed.
Now the community seed bank has become a sustainable enterprise as farmers’ cooperatives have opened, in Huambo, the first certified quality seed store, under the name ‘Sementes de Planalto.’ Selling seed which they’ve produced themselves at an affordable price, they’ve begun to market their product to other communities and to the poorest farmers who need them most.
This is a milestone in the fight against food insecurity in Angola. Small farmers trusted us, worked together with us and have witnessed how their harvests have increased. Together, we were reaching out to more communities and creating a sustainable project that will transform rural areas such as Huambo and Bié. All will have access to affordable, high quality seed.
The fight against hunger in Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa has great potential, much of its land is fertile enough to cultivate foods such as corn, soy and potatoes, amongst others. However, 25% of the population suffer famine and malnutrition regularly. Moving beyond this insecurity of life requires patient labor.
The production of quality seeds forms part of our long-term strategy in the fight against hunger in Angola. Our strategy can be divided into:
- Guaranteeing security of their lands through obtaining formal property rights.
- Increasing access to improved seeds that will improve harvest yields.
- Developing farming schools to teach farmers new cultivating techniques (diversifying their crops, increasing productivity, etc.), as well as teaching aspects of basic nutrition.
- Improvement in storage systems for maintaining food-reserves and crop surpluses.
- Strengthening farmers’ cooperatives and local community institutions.
- Strengthening the marketing of their harvest surplus.
Your support of our work, your solidarity and donations will make it possible for us forge ahead in improving productivity and integrating rural Angolan farming communities into local and region markets. Looking back at how our project participants have obtained property titles to their land, developed a seed bank, improved and diversified their crop yields, purchased food storage containers that allowed them to save 100% more of their harvests and, now, how they’ve opened the first quality seed store, we are proud that so much has been achieved in terms of basic needs. Yet this progress is fragile and so much remains to be done to win the struggle against hunger in Angola.
Learn more about our projects in Angola in our project section.