Angola, officially known as the Republic of Angola, is located in Southern Africa, with its entire western part bordering the Atlantic Ocean. It is the second largest country in sub-Sahara Africa. Angola’s population is slightly more than 2 million (2012), and its capital is Luanda. Being a former colony of Portugal, its official language is Portuguese. Angola gained independence in 1975 after 13 years of armed struggle. Almost immediately thereafter, a civil war broke out that continued till 2002. Almost three decades of war resulted in millions of dead or displaced Angolans, destruction of crops, livestock and infrastructure, dissipation of institutions, and ever lingering threat of unexploded land mines. After the end of the civil war, the economy of Angola, driven by exports of oil (second largest producer in sub-Saharan Africa) and diamonds (fourth largest producer in the world), started recovering at an exceptionally rapid rate. However, only a tiny elite sector of population reaped benefits from this economic development while most people, and especially those living in rural areas, keep suffering from extreme poverty, with minimal basic facilities.
Angola is administratively divided into 18 provinces. The provinces are sub-divided into a total of 163 municipalities. In terms of climate, the temperatures in the northern areas, close to the Equator, are high and start declining while moving towards south. The country has two distinct seasons; warm and rainy, and dry and cold. Rainfall decreases from north to south. The climate of the capital Luanda remains pleasantly moderate throughout the year. Many rivers flow in the country.
Before the liberation war, the agricultural commercial sector was one of the most important pillars of Angola’s economy, mostly due to plantations of export crops owned and managed by Portuguese farmers. Angola was the fourth largest coffee producer in the world, and also exported sisal, banana, sugarcane and cotton. The sector almost collapsed during the fighting period and is now struggling to rise again. Presently, agriculture remains mostly subsistence in scale and primitive in methods. In 2007/08, the average area cultivated by farmer families was 1.56 hectares. The main fertile regions are highlands and valleys. Main food crops are cassava, maize, sweet potatoes and millet. The cultivation of cash crops like coffee, banana, sisal, sugarcane, tea, and oil palm is also being restored. Livestock (cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens) and fishery are important for rural and coastal livelihoods. Agriculture-related environmental problems have been caused by slash-and-burn practice by farmers, and overuse of insecticides. Existing landmine fields have reduced the arable land area.
Key Statistics and Indicators
Agricultural land (sq km)
Agricultural land (% of land area)
Arable land (hectares)
Arable land (% of land area)
Arable land (hectares per person)
Fertilizer consumption (kg per hectare of arable land)
Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)
Food production index (2004-2006 = 100)
Food exports (% of merchandise exports)
Food imports (% of merchandise imports)
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)
Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)
Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)
Literacy rate, youth male (% of males ages 15-24)
Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)
Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)
Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)
Internet users (per 100 people)
Population density (people per sq. km of land area)
Rural population (% of total population)
Agricultural population (% of total population)
Total economically active population
Total economically active population in agriculture*
Total economically active population in agriculture (in %
of total economically active population)
Female economically active population in agriculture (% of
total economically active population in agriculture)*
History of Extension and the Enabling Environment
Angola has gone through several upheavals, such as being unwillingly a surrogate for power struggle among some key countries like USA, Soviet Union, South Africa and Cuba, prolonged armed struggle for independence, a long civil war, and a period of communist rule. As such, most of its national institutions, including agricultural extension services, were either destroyed or barely survived.
During the 1930s, some missionary schools in Angola were providing extension support to farmers. It is evident from some photographs in the William V.S. Tubman Photograph Collection at Indiana University, showing agricultural extension at Galangue Mission Station, supposedly the first ever demonstration with plow to a large group of farmers, and a plow designed to dig ditches.
In the early 1970s, various types of agricultural production units existed side by side, ranging from primitive hunting and gathering to large commercial plantations. The agricultural census placed these units in two categories, namely traditional (mostly small plots on tribal lands which produced food both for home consumption and market; almost 1.2 million holdings in 1971/72), and commercial (large fields and plantations such as for coffee, but also some small and medium sized farms; 8,038 commercial farms in 1971/72, all registered under Portuguese civil law).
Angola gained independence in 1975. By 1977, when the Portuguese abandoned their farms and had fled from Angola, the Angolan government, following a Soviet model of centralized, planned economy, nationalized the commercial farms while smaller land properties were organized into cooperatives.
During the communist era in Angola, agricultural extension services were given inadequate budget. Not only that, but it is also suspected that extension meetings held in rural areas were used by political appointees as a platform for communist propaganda in support of the government control over marketing of farm produce.
By the end of 1985, the Directorate of Farm Marketing supposedly controlled 4,638 farm cooperatives and 6,534 farmers’ associations. However, in fact, only 93 cooperatives and 71 associations were operational.
Although Angola’s economy is presently based on the export of oil and diamonds, the government does realize the great potential of the agricultural sector for food security and export of agricultural commodities as was the case during the colonial period. The China Development Bank has recently approved a four-year loan of $1.2 billion, aimed at kick-starting agricultural development in Angola.
Some of the main agricultural and rural development projects and initiatives, some funded by donor agencies and some as investment by the private sector, implemented or being implemented in Angola are as follows:
- The Bom Jesus – Calenga Smallholder Agricultural Development Project, funded by the African Development Fund, aims at increasing the agricultural production and incomes of smallholder farmers in a sustainable manner. The project will establish 20 farmer support centers, and assist in seed development and extension through relevant public agricultural institutions. The project intends to use selected contract farmers as farm/field extension representatives to promote the adoption of improved agricultural practices.
- Three projects, funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), have already been implemented. They were Malanje Smallholder Sector Rehabilitation Project (1991-1996); Northern Region Food Crops Development Project (1997-2007); and Northern Fishing Communities Development Program (1998-2008). The Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture Project is the latest IFAD-funded project being implemented.
- Under public-private alliance modality, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Chevron-Texaco Corporation have jointly funded two relevant projects: Seed Multiplication Project on strengthening agricultural extension services and providing technical assistance in modern agricultural practices; Vocational Technical School Project to establish an agricultural research center.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), under its Technical Cooperation Program, has a number of ongoing, active projects in capacity building for agricultural production (TCP/ANG/3401), preservation of natural resources (TCP/ANG/3402), and artisanal fishery development (TCP/ANG/3403).
- The Vital Capital Fund approved $36 million investment for Aldeia Nova, a mostly Israeli-funded project in improving marketing and other services for farmers.
- The Chinese ExIm (Export-Import) Bank is to provide $40 million loan for Mecanagro, the state agricultural agency that promotes agricultural mechanization program in Angola.
- The Japanese company Marubeni is to invest $652 million in a sugarcane-to-ethanol project in Cunene, south of Angola.
- The Swiss company Nestle has invested about $ 11 million in its new factory in Luanda.
- The Angolan Bio-Energy Company (BIOCAM) is a joint venture between the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, and the privately-held Angolan group DAMER and Sonangol, developing a 30,000 hectares sugarcane plantation for the production of ethanol in Malanje province.
- The Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) initiative http://dtma.cimmyt.org, covering 13 countries including Angola in the sub-Saharan Africa is being supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Howard G. Buffett Foundation, in collaboration with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Mexico.
- The USA-based Gaiacor International has announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with MITC Investments, a privately-owned business group in Angola, to manage and operate large farming operations in Angola.
- China has signed a cooperation deal with Angola for the construction of an agricultural research center in Mazozo, Luanda province.
Presently, the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries is responsible for providing public agricultural extension services to the farmers.
Major Institutions Providing Extension/Advisory Services
Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries
The Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries comprises several departments, and one of them is Specialized Services/Institutes, which carries responsibility for the extension services.
Institute for Agricultural Development (IDA) (Instituto de Desenvolvimento Agraria)
The Institute for Agricultural Development (IDA), administratively a part of the Specialized Services/Institutes of the Ministry, is the national level institution responsible for a number of functions, agricultural extension being one of them. The IDA is headed by a Director, and has 54 Municipal Agricultural Offices (EDAs) in the field where frontline extension agents are based. The EDAs are also involved in non-extension tasks such as supply of farm inputs and agricultural data collection.
In 2005, the combined number of staff at the IDA and EDAs was 909 out of which 426 were technical/professional while the rest constituted administrative/support staff. Due to shortage of staff and high demand for extension support, the Ministry has contracted national and especially international NGOs that work alongside the public extension agents at provincial and municipality levels.
Other public institutions
Other public institutions that are involved in agricultural extension or outreach activities in Angola are as follows:
- The Institute of Artisanal Fisheries (IPA) (Instituto de Desenvivolmento de Pesca Artesanal)
- The Institute of Forestry Development (IDF) (Instituto de Desenvolvimento Florestal)
- The Institute of Agricultural Research (IIA) (Instituto de Investigação Agronómica)
Agricultural academic institutions
There were several academic institutions in Angola but many of them were partially or totally closed during the long wars. They are now re-establishing their programs.
University of Agostinho Neto (Universidade Agostinho Neto)
The University of Agostinho Neto is the only university in Angola that has a faculty of agricultural sciences. The faculty is located in the central Angolan town of Huambo (another campus of the university is in Luanda), which is the seat of several educational institutions and the Agricultural Research Institute. There is no information available on any agricultural extension type outreach activity undertaken by the university. However, the institution is still important for rural and agricultural development because it offers degree programs in relevant disciplines.
Huambo Agricultural College
The Huambo Agricultural College, located in Huambo, was closed down during the wars, and it was only partially opened in 2005. The college, when active, offered degree programs in agricultural subjects. No information is available on its current programs.
Agricultural Technical Colleges
There are three Agricultural Technical Colleges, which provide four-year high school level training in agricultural sciences. They are located in Lubango, Huambo and Malanje. The institutions are the main source of producing field extension agents.
CATOFE Technical Agricultural School
The CATOFE Technical Agricultural School has been established in the municipality of Quibala, province of Kwanza Sul under the government’s Social and Humanitarian Program in collaboration with Switzerland. The residential school offers three-year courses covering professional training with strong emphasis on practical learning. The courses are planned for the following three categories: (i) Agricultural Assistants; (ii) Stock Raising Assistants; and (iii) Forestry Assistants. The school has 35 hectares of land, which is used for diversified agricultural operations as practical training for students.
There is a lot of emphasis on revitalizing the agricultural sector in Angola. Apart from the government institutions and multilateral donor agencies, the government has been encouraging the foreign private sector and international NGOs to engage in rehabilitating and developing the agricultural sector. Many initiatives and projects have been launched to achieve this objective. Although it is hard to isolate agricultural extension activities that are undertaken within these initiatives yet extension is implicit in their field activities. Also, the private sector is playing important role in providing agricultural inputs, farm machinery and equipment. Some of the private companies involved in these initiatives are as follows:
- Fertiangola: Created in 2005; sells several agricultural products including fertilizers, seeds, agrochemicals, veterinary products, garden tools and irrigation equipment; has a shop in Benguela province.
- Agroway: Agroway represents many Brazilian companies that sell inputs and equipment; also represents the New Holland brand of tractors.
- Novagro: Established in 2001; deals in seeds, fertilizers and tractors; has worked with the Institute for Agricultural Development (IDA) in providing inputs and technical assistance to smallholder farmers; has outlets in the provinces of Huambo, Kwanza Sul and Benguela.
- Omnia: A South African fertilizer and cop protection company with presence in Angola; sells fertilizers to large-scale commercial producers.
- Agromundo: One-stop shop for agricultural inputs and equipment; represents international companies like Syngenta (agrochemicals), Basf (agrochemicals), Nulandis (generic agrochemicals), Lindsay (irrigation systems) and Rovatti Pompe (water pumps).
- Agrovet: Specializes in veterinary products.
Examples of other similar initiatives involving overseas private companies and the Angolan private sector have been given earlier in the section on the history of extension and enabling environment.
Dozens of international NGOs have been present in Angola for many years. Initially, their work mostly focused on post-war humanitarian and rehabilitation activities. More recently, many international NGOs have been involved in rural and agricultural development work in partnership with the government and/or the private sector. In fact, the government has encouraged their involvement due to shortage of trained human resources in rural areas. The Committee of International NGOs in Angola (CONGA) http://www.conga.angonet.org is also present in the country. Quite a few domestic NGOs have also emerged after the independence and have participated in development activities, but they are still in the process of establishing themselves firmly. A few examples of NGOs that have been actively involved in rural community and agricultural development, and in some case in the provision of agricultural extension support as well, are given below:
- ADPP (Ajuda De Desenvolvimento De Povo Para Povo Angola)
Officially registered in 1992; formed Rural Technical School in Caxito with the support of the Danish Development Aid from People to People (UFF); active in several fields including rural development, agriculture and environment. Through the Farmers’ Club projects, training subsistence farmers in environmentally sustainable techniques to improve productivity and in buying and selling agricultural inputs and produce respectively; also assisting Teacher Training Schools in garden farming.
- Forum of the Angolan Non-Governmental Organizations (FONGA)
Based in Luanda; comprises 150 member NGOs; organizes workshops and seminars; thematic areas of activities include community development and conflict resolution.
- Angolan Network for Poverty Reduction
Founded in 1994; based in Luanda; among many other areas, also covers adult education, agriculture, food and nutrition, and literacy.
- Associacao Crista de Jovens de Angola
Based in Luanda; created in 1990; activities include agriculture and sustainable community development.
- Development Workshop (DW)
An international NGO; has been working in Angola since 1981; has offices in Luanda, Huambo and Cabinda; working to improve settlements and livelihoods of the poor in less developed communities.
- Harambee USA Foundation
An international NGO, working in partnership with the Salesians (SDP) in Angola; implemented a project in Ndalatando, focused on encouraging young people to return to agriculture; carried out technical training in agriculture, providing pilot plots of new crops and basic processing and trading principles.
- Rotary Angola
An international NGO; operating the Rotary’s Million Dollar Dream project in Angola in collaboration with the World Vision. Another international NGO; during just one year into the project, by 2012, the project claims to have established 31 irrigation projects and 33 seed banks, targeting about 1,350 smallholder farming families to raise their incomes.
- Association for Rural Agricultural Development and Environment (ADRA-Accao para o Desenvolvimento Rural e Ambiental)
A domestic NGO active in the areas of food security, rural livelihoods and agriculture; has worked with many national and international partners; and maintains branch offices in provinces.
Some other international NGOs that have been visibly active in the field of agricultural development are World Vision (WV), Save the Children Fund (SCF), AFRICARE, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), and Cooperative League of the United States of America (CLUSA).
Farmers-based associations, cooperatives and societies
A large number of international donor agencies and civil society organizations have been involved in rehabilitation and development activities in rural areas of Angola after its independence in 1975. Many of them have been working with Angolan partner institutions while others have aimed at developing grassroots farmers’ organizations such as associations and cooperatives. Building on the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) Cooperative League of the United States of America (CLUSA)’s presence in Angola since 2001, the USAID-funded Cooperative Development Program (CDP), called Enabling Environment and Increasing Scale and Salience of Cooperative Enterprise, has been creating enabling environment for associations and cooperatives.
As mentioned earlier, around the end of 1985, the Director of Marketing controlled 4,638 farm cooperatives and 6,534 farmers’ associations, but out of these only 93 cooperatives and 71 associations were operational. There is no information readily available on specific agricultural extension task if any at all being performed by any farmers’ association or cooperative. Probably, expecting the performance of the extension function by these organizations is a bit premature as the rural population is still struggling to fully recover from the effects of the post-independence civil war.
Two examples of farmers’ organizations in Angola are:
- Confederation of Farmer Associations and Agricultural Cooperatives of Angola (UNACA): It is the main organization covering farmers’ associations and cooperatives in the country. In 2006, UNACA claimed to have worked with 487 cooperatives and 4,471 farmers’ associations having a total of 490,126 members. The confederation publishes a quarterly magazine, UNACA Actualidade, containing news about its activities.
- Cooperativa Agropecuaria dos Camponeses Benguela (CAPCAB)
List of Extension Providers
The following list shows an excerpt from the GFRAS Directory of Extension Providers for Angola. Some of these entries may be specially marked for having more detailed information in the database of the Worldwide Extension Study WWES.
Training Options for Extension Professionals
For pre-service education/training in agricultural sciences, the following academic institutions may be approached:
- University of Agostinho Neto.
- Huambo Agricultural College.
- Agricultural Technical Colleges.
- CATOFE Technical Agricultural School (only for junior field-level workers).
For in-service training, the following options may be considered:
- The academic institutions mentioned above.
- Agricultural Development Institute (IDA).
- The Institute of Agricultural Research (IIA) for training in specific crop/livestock topics.
- SGS Angola (training courses) offered in seed, crop, forestry, fertilizer, bio-fuel and other agricultural services and industries.
- External donor-funded ongoing projects in agricultural and rural development, with components of capacity building and training nationals.
- International NGOs active in Angola.
Info-mediaries and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Agriculture and Extension
The Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technologies is responsible for all matters pertaining to ICT in Angola. There also exists the National Institute of Communications (INACOM). According to the World Bank, in 2012, the number of mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people) in Angola was 48.61. During the same year, the number of Internet users (per 100 people) in the country was 16.93.
In 2002, the government created the National Commission for Information Technology. The commission elaborated a plan for ICT development called the Strategy for the Development of Information Technology 2000-2010. The commission also created a center of excellence, CENAPATI, to implement the projects included in the plan. The private center has also been approached by the government for collaboration in ICT development.
A few rather small-scale and short-term ICT initiatives taken in Angola are in the area of education. They include AngoNet www.angonet.org, partnership between the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Discovery Channel Global Education Fund http://www.discoveryglobaled.org , the establishment of six learning centers in Cabinda province with the support of the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company, and of 13 learning centers in Bengo and Huambo provinces, and Schoolnet Angola. There is no evidence of ICT being used as yet in support of the agricultural sector or agricultural extension.
Resources and references
African Development Fund. 2005. Appraisal Report; Angola: Bom Jesus – Calenga. Smallholder Agricultural Development Project.
IFAD (no date). Investing in Rural People in Angola.
Indiana University (no date). William V.S. Tubman Photograph Collection.
Isaacs, S. 2007. ICT in Education in Angola. www.infodev.org.
Jover, E., A.L. Pinto, and A. Marchand. 2012. Angola: Private Sector Country Profile. African Development Bank & African Development Fund.
Kiakanua, M., A. Chichicuhua, D.V. Pedro, V.K. Nzambi, and H.S.C. Jezo. 2011. Characterization of Maize Producing Households in Cacuaco and Lobito Municipalities of Angola. Country Report prepared under the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) Project. Nairobi: CIMMYT.
Kimhi, A. 2009. Revitalizing and Modernizing Smallholder Agriculture for Food Security, Rural Development and Demobilization in a Post-War Country: The Case of the Aldeia Nova Project in Angola. Discussion Paper No. 4.09; Rehovot: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Kyle, S. 2013. How Important was Marxism for the Development of Mozambique and Angola? Working Paper. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University.
New Agriculturist (no date). Country profile – Angola.
Norfolk, S., V. Ribeiro, and K. Groenendijk. 2006. Assessment of Agricultural Information Needs in African, Caribbean & Pacific (ACP) States for CTA’s Products and Services; Africa; Country Study: Angola. The NetTechnical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).
Parker, A.R. 2004. The Public-Private Alliances of USAID in Angola: An Assessment of Lessons Learned and Ways Forward. A consultancy report prepared for the United States Agency for International Development.
Rusarova, K., B. Havrland, J. Mazancova, and H. Ciboch .2010. Agricultural technology development strategies in Angola – Prognosis for the period 2010-2020. Agricultura Tropica et Subtropica, Vol. 43 (4) 2010, Pp. 316-324.
Steiner, H.H. 1977. Angola’s Agricultural Economy in Brief. Foreign Agricultural Economic Report No. 139. Washington, DC: Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Tomas, J.A.S. 2013. Agriculture as a tool for development in Angola. African Journal of Agricultural Research, Vol. 8 (50), Pp. 6642-6650.
World Bank. 2008. Integrated Safeguards Datasheet; Appraisal Stage. Angola: Market Oriented Smallholder Agriculture Project.
- Authored by M. Kalim Qamar (March 2014).
- Edited by Burton E. Swanson.