The months of hunger in Angola – Natura Award

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27 years of civil war in Angola have made it the longest war in Africa. This has meant that Angolans have lost their homes, their crops and ultimately, their lives. CODESPA is going to be able to continue working to change this situation. The objective is for these rural farmers to be able to access a low-cost storage system which allows them to keep their harvest for longer and therefore, guarantee that they have enough food to see out the “months of hunger”.

27 years of civil war in Angola have made it the longest war in Africa. This has meant that Angolans have lost their homes, their crops and ultimately, their lives. Despite Angola being a country rich in natural resources, where agriculture has always been an important source of income, they have lost their knowledge, experience and infrastructures to be able to live in the countryside and what this would offer them. As a result, many basic foods have to be imported and only certain people have access to them.

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At present, hunger is one of the country’s main problems: more than half of the population, 54.8%, is living in extreme poverty. According to the Human Development Index, Angola is positioned number 148 in the world out of a total of 182 countries. After the war, the country grew rapidly, importing basic foodstuffs at very high prices and pushing up the cost of living. This is a cost of living to which the most vulnerable rural population does not have access.

Huambo is one of the provinces most affected by food insecurity in Angola. The civil war struck this province hard and at present, 92.5% live with food insecurity, this being severe in 47.5% of the cases. This situation mainly affects children under five, as by not receiving sufficient quantities of proteins and calories suffer from malnutrition.

Almost half of the population of Huambo lives in rural areas and 76% work in agriculture. This activity, for reasons mentioned above, is not sufficient to be able to provide enough food and live decently. One of the factors that has most bearing on food insecurity is that they do not have the appropriate infrastructures to be able to store foods and keep them for the so-called “months of hunger”. These are December, January and February, when the rural farmers are producing the new crops but the crops from previous months have run out, so they do not have enough food to feed themselves properly. This means they have to resort to importing basic foods, something which rural families cannot access due to their low economic incomes.

In the areas of the Huambo province where CODESPA works, 69.1% of the families do not manage to store food for more than four months after its harvest. This is due to the use of raffia sacks and silos created with palm leaves. The rural farmers lose up to 55% of their stored crops with these sacks as they do not provide suitable conditions in which to preserve the food.

Thanks to the support of Natura, CODESPA is going to be able to continue working to change this situation. The objective is for these rural farmers to be able to access a low-cost storage system which allows them to keep their harvest for longer and therefore, guarantee that they have enough food to see out the “months of hunger”.

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More information on the project is available here:

http://codespa.org/projects/harvest_storage_systems_to_achieve_families_food_security?offset=0&country=angola

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