Over 1 million Angolans still need urgent food aid – UN agencies

A special report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) says these returns following the peace agreement in April last year between the Government and UNITA rebel military forces have offset the reduction in internally displaced people (IDPs). Some 1.4 million Angolans – roughly the same as 12 months ago – will require 219,000 tons of cereals, 24,000 tons of pulses and smaller quantities of oil, sugar, salt and corn-soya blend to survive until the next harvest. WFP plans to assist 1.03 million of the most vulnerable, including returnee and resettled farmers as well as IDPs still sheltering in camps. According to the FAO/WFP report, abundant rains, farmers returning to their land and the distribution of agricultural inputs have led to a 14 per cent increase in cultivated areas, boosting agricultural performance for 2002-2003. This year’s cereal production is expected to reach 670,000 tons – 23 per cent higher than 2002. Despite the favourable agricultural output, the report predicts that Angola requires the commercial import of 490,000 tons of cereals with an additional 219,000 tons of food aid. The two agencies also warn that the country’s “potential to produce food should not divert attention from the immense task of social and economic development still to be accomplished.” read more