In Angola the government has taken over a cattle farm in a unique experiment to study the major problems which privately-owned breeders face in this part of the world.
In Angola the government has taken over a cattle farm in a unique experiment to study the major problems which privately-owned breeders face in this part of the world. The farm, at Kaopa, near the capital, Luanda, had been owned by an international consortium before the civil war. During that troubled time, the 7,000 head of cattle on the ranch dropped to only 3,000, and seemed likely to fall even further before the government took it over in May this year.
SYNOPSIS: The cattle, all of Zebu stock, are on the increase again, but the Government says it will be three or four years before the herd is up to strength again. During the war the farm suffered, as did other properties, by the loss of its workforce. Then as food became scarce, cattle were slaughtered. But even without the war, cattle breeders in Angola face great problems. To support herds,properties have to be vast. This farm covers 450 square kilometres (173 square miles). Transportation within the state is difficult and costly.
Now that the government is finding out about the farmers' difficulties at first hand, it is hoped steps will be taken to remedy another problem - the shortage of properly qualified vets in the country. In a country where 75 percent of the population is involved in agriculture, government action on these problems is welcomed. This is the only state-owned cattle farm in Angola, but in other areas of agriculture, there has been a steady swing towards collectivised methods of farming.
This year has been called the "year of Agriculture" in Angola, but the government say their venture into cattle farming does not represent the beginning of nationalisation of this area of production. The farm at Kaopa is an experiment. And it is too early to predict whether or not it will grow into national policy. Whatever happens, the results of the venture could benefit all farmers within the country.