Angola Agricultural Programmes
An ICRC Evaluation
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).
- 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.
Taken from Field Exchange Issue 5, October 1998