Angola: Sustainable Livelihoods and Environment
Agriculture is a source of livelihood for millions of Angolans. However, due to decades of war, whole generations have forgotten basic farming skills. This means they know how to grow only a limited range of crops and hunt in the forest for meat, so they do not reach the full nutritional and financial potential of their work. For this reason, our projects introduce the people to new ways of producing, processing, and selling their crops.
Chitanda: Resilient agriculture systems to improve food and nutritional security
The project Chitanda (a word in Umbundu language meaning ‘market’ or ‘market product’), implemented in partnership with the local NGO ASD (Solidarity and Development Action), addresses these key challenges through a number of integrated actions.
We organise trainings to technicians from governmental institutions in order to strengthen their knowledge and share approaches to innovations in agricultural techniques. In order to increase the production capacities of small-scale farmers, we support Farmer Field Schools designed to improve their knowledge and skills on innovative good agriculture practices and climate-smart farming methods, including trainings on topics like land preparation, soil fertility, sowing and planting, harvest. In addition to theoretical and practical trainings, we distribute kits to the farmers composed of tools, seeds and plantation materials, fertilizers and other equipment, such as wheelbarrows, shovels, strings, fencing or seedlings. Demonstration plots are selected among vulnerable farmers to present climate-smart agriculture techniques, including agroforestry, intercropping, conservation agriculture and gravity irrigation. As a way to share experiences, Farmer Field Days are organised in the beginning of the season and after the harvest.
Small and medium enterprises, self-help groups and community-based organisations are also a part of the project. We introduce improved agriculture processing technologies among those, allowing smallholders to transform their production locally and sell at a higher price. At the same time, we support self-help groups and community-based organisations in developing small businesses around these processing technologies. Exposure visits for small producers and cooperatives are also held in order to improve cooperation in sales.
With regard to nutrition, we organise workshops for nutrition specialists and voluntary health workers on topics like causes of malnutrition, transmission paths of diarrheal disease, and good infant and young child feeding. Community Health Days are organised to raise awareness on good nutrition practices among the local population.
Throughout a period of 30 months, the project intends to aid more than 540 small-scale farmers and horticulturalists, 40 health system staff, 24 government staff from the agriculture offices, 15 small and medium enterprises, 80 market actors and 900 women that are pregnant or with children under the age of five.
Food and nutrition security improvement
PIN provides beneficiaries with practical trainings and continuous advisory support, as well as relevant agriculture inputs. The supply of seeds of highly nutritive crops like soybean, groundnut, sweet potato and fruit trees is part of the project, that also fosters the implementation of vegetable-gardens and new irrigation systems, and the production of organic fertilizer. The initiative also promotes better practices for duck breeding and distributes cattle in Bié province, where the presence of bovine is very small.
As a result of the rise in the agricultural production, the workforce demand in the selected villages should also increase. PIN also encourages cooperative work of women and gives support in terms of income generation activities.
The nutrition component focuses on improving the dietary patterns of children and young women through training courses and campaigns on how to cook nutrient-rich food, the importance of breastfeeding, and safe hygiene practices. The nutrition work is expected to enhance the access to nutrient rich food in the target areas. In total, 3,000 households benefit from the project.
Farmer training and Agricultural Market development
800 farmers successfully passed the courses and expanded and enriched their own production thanks to the provision of small grants. During the training, they learned basic agricultural techniques such as crop rotation, fertilization, pest prevention and cultivation of new crops. They also learned how to take care of poultry and livestock and prevent animal diseases. Thanks to the training, their own crops increased two to three-fold. Their families and communities now have access to a nutritionally enriched diet, including protein, and have increased the income and the health status of their whole family.
Similarly, within their communities in the rural farm schools, a thousand farmers are taught by PIN trainers and extention workers. The Farmers Field Schools offer illiterate or little educated residents simple techniques and visual practical learning on training plots, where several approaches can be tried and evaluated. They also learn to take care of goats, chickens or bees, and test their own skills thanks to loans that are provided in the form of seeds, tools and livestock. In the future, the most successful Farmers Field School can obtain a larger community grant, such as a plow or water power plant
Additionally, women learn how to grow medicinal herbs, which are often the only available medication for the rural communities.
The Agrarian center, sample farm set by PIN, offers the residents of Cuemba a number of services including a small mill, a shop with agrarian inputs, a tractor rental and other machinery, etc. The Agrarian center also buys produce from farmers in addition to selling its own.Moreover, the center runs a bakery and provides around 4000 loaves of bread on a daily basis to the residents of the town.We also support the organization of village markets, linking urban merchants and rural farmers. Farmers buy agricultural inputs such as tools, boots, fertilisers or seeds, and merchants buy their produce and sell it back in the towns.