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Angola Agricultural Programmes


An ICRC Evaluation

The ICRC has been operating agricultural programmes of various types in Angola since the 1980s. In the earliest phases, the programme distributed food aid, seeds and tools. After conflict returned in 1992, the ICRC's approach was to combine nutritional support and provision of seeds, tools and non-food items. In 1995 the overall programme objective shifted to improving local self-sufficiency through implementing projects like: reforestation, fish breeding, and seed multiplication. However the ICRC assistance programmes were interrupted at the end of 1996.

An Impact evaluation was carried out one year after the end of ICRC's activities in this area. This was a multisector evaluation, that also took into account the impact of landmines on Angolan agriculture (however, that aspect of the evaluation will not be discussed here).


Seed distribution

  • In security perimeters under government or UNITA control, almost no remnants of ICRC actions were visible a year later.
  • In other zones with a greater access to land, programme impact was still significant.

Land in security perimeters was continuously cultivated and thus became exhausted. This meant that, whilst ensuring better food stocks at harvest, seed distributions did not ensure enough seed-stock for a subsequent planting. The better soil fertility in other zones, and hence a better water retention capacity giving a greater resistance to drought, has allowed the farmers to keep some seed-stocks for further cultivation.

ICRC support for the preservation of the genetic diversity (organisation of genetic resources workshop at the gene bank of Luanda's University in 1995, collecting and sending of local varieties to the gene bank, etc.) has completely fulfilled its objectives. Indeed the gene bank is now quite active and benefits form Food and Agriculture Organisation support. General awareness of the necessity to better preserve and use local varieties has increased among NGOs and governmental agricultural services. Local varieties continue to dominate the seed base.

Three of the four institutions which received support for the multiplication of vegetable seeds were still continuing those activities one year later, albeit on a very small scale. Reasons for this were thought to have been due to the lack of outside material support and technical advice. ICRC's rapid withdrawal and insufficient lobbying of other NGOs to take over where it left off should be seen as the main limitation.

In terms of reforestation activities, the evaluation concluded that while ICRC's efforts were worthwhile in Saccala, the general objective of creating a snowball effect (i.e. to encourage further reforestation projects) was not reached.

Fish breeding efforts were very successful in the short term with a large once off distribution of small fish to farmers for further breeding as originally planned. However, one year later, the general level of activity in the area of fish breeding was, once again, quite low. Some hope existed for a rebirth of those activities as an NGO was interested in this project. However, this interest was not fostered by ICRC activities.

Based on the Results:

The strategies for hand-over of ICRC rehabilitation programmes are inadequate. There is no point in starting medium-term projects without careful consideration at the onset of the length of time necessary for successful continuation by local authorities. When project duration is anticipated to be longer than probable ICRC presence, other institutions, especially developmental ones, should be identified to take over. Those institutions should then be gradually involved in handling the project.

Imported from FEX website


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