What initiatives have there been to encourage agricultural practice?
There are government initiatives, through instruments that have already been approved and are being implemented. I am talking specifically about support for family farming, which is very important. In the private sector we have programmes aimed at assistance and support of family production, through seasonal loans, supply of agricultural inputs, technical support or rehabilitation of irrigation or conservation infrastructures. For example, lending to small and medium-sized farmers is a loan granted by commercial banks and for which the government subsidises interest rates and provides the necessary guarantees. There are also other programmes related to trading of farmers? produce and also to supporting agricultural mechanisation. We are preparing instruments that will naturally improve quality in terms of agricultural practice. In the public sector, we are also developing programmes for the implementation of some production units, but the greatest support is in fact aimed at the private sector.
The development of the agricultural sector is therefore anchored to private investment. What projects are being implemented?
There are many projects. A growing number of private bodies are now investing in agricultural production, which is a sector with a great deal of momentum. Merely by way of example, three years ago monthly egg production was no more than five million. At the moment, this production stands at 35 million eggs per month. This is thanks to projects by private bodies. We are aware that there is an effort by these companies in increasing production. There are projects aimed at the production of beef; there are also units that are being implemented likewise for the production of fruit and vegetables (and in particular banana production) and also in the production of cereals and corn. At the same time, agro-industrial projects are being created for processing these products.
Agriculture is an area that depends on numerous factors, such as, for example, weather conditions. Are agricultural insurance programmes being factored in?
This is a major challenge. Agriculture is a sector affected by many adversities, while depending without doubt on weather conditions and on other factors. If unplanned events occur that affect production, it is only natural that we have to set mechanisms into action that render possible the continuity of production by the producer and protect investments. At the moment there is no institutionalised form of agricultural insurance. But there are developments being made, both within the Ministry of Finance and within competent agencies dealing in insurance, with the intention of setting up agricultural insurance in Angola. Technically, we are working towards being able, in the short future, to have an agricultural insurance that is properly differentiated from other kinds of insurance.
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