We recently had a conversation with the mayor of Quibala. He stated that 90% of the people under his jurisdiction are farmers, and of them, 98% are subsistence farmers. Subsistence farming is defined as eating almost everything that is produced with very little leftover to sell.
According to the CIA World Factbook, 85% of Angola’s labor force is comprised of farmers who account for about 9% of the $100 Billion national GDP. Meanwhile, the country is importing over 50% of its agricultural consumption causing some of the world’s highest food prices.
Our question has been, “Why are these subsistence farmers not feeling the demand from Luanda?”
The answer…. “The Vicious Cycle.”
These farmers cannot produce consistent quality or quantity; therefore, major markets such as Luanda will not buy from them. Because the major markets won’t buy from them, these farmers fail to earn the income necessary to expand and produce the consistent quality and quantity the markets demand.
Here are some current barriers preventing the farmers from producing the consistent quality and quantity:
- Inability to save and prepare for future seasons due to immediate hunger
- Lack of knowledge/training, continued use of traditional bad-practices
- Lack of access to the markets due to a weak national infrastructure (roads, rail, etc.)
- Lack of access to inputs such as tools, seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides
- Lack of access to water and irrigation during the dry months
- Extreme difficulty in obtaining financing
*What has to happen first in order for these subsistence farmers to end the vicious cycle?