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Cuanza Sul outlines agroindustrial and productive business development

Article - June 8, 2015

Agriculture is becoming increasingly industrialized in the province, while construction at the Port of Amboim is creating a new international trade center on Angola’s central coast, strategically located between Lobito and Luanda


The coastal province of Cuanza Sul (also known as Kwanza Sul), which is roughly the size of El Salvador, is home to a population of just under 2 million people who primarily make their living through agriculture. Indeed, regionally Cuanza Sul has traditionally been known for its production of coffee, cotton, fruit, rice and tobacco.

Yet while the province also has two major fish processing centers – Sumbe and Amboim – and large eluvial and alluvial diamond deposits, the civil war had a devastating impact on the area. Crops were destroyed and families were displaced, leaving people without a home or a means to a livelihood.

“Kwanza Sul has been advancing through programs that improve sectors such as health, education, energy and water,” highlights Governor Eusebio de Brito Teixeira. “We have local programs to fight famine and poverty, to promote housing, to provide water for everyone and to build infrastructures.

“In addition, we have development hubs in Porto Amboim and the development corridor for agriculture and a cattle breading in Cela region,” he adds.

Expo Cuanza Sul unites 120 exhibitors, including Agrolíder

One of the capstone events that symbolize the province’s, and Angola’s, commitment to modernizing its economy and welcoming the participation of foreign business partners was the Expo Cuanza Sul that took place in Waku-Kungo in September 2014.

With the motto “Cuanza Sul on the path to agro-industrial and productive business development”, the fair brought together more than 120 local and international exhibitors. Economy Minister Abraão Gourgel inaugurated the event, which was aimed at relaunching and boosting the local economy through strategic business partnerships and investments.

Reuniting players from places as diverse as South Africa, Argentina, France, Brazil and Namibia, the exhibition comprised both large and small companies from the domains of agriculture, fishing, stockbreeding, education, the hotel and tourism industries, transport, telecommunications and pharmaceuticals.

Among the most recognizable Angolan brands at the expo was Agrolíder, which produces more than 50,000 tons of horticultural products a year in addition to breeding various types of cattle. Part of the massive Grupo Líder conglomerate, Agrolíder began operations in 1990 and has since earned a solid reputation as one of Angola’s top producers of vegetables.

It operates several farms in Angola, particularly around Caxito (Bengo province) and Kibala, Cuanza Sul. The company not only specializes in potato production (with an output in excess of 20,000 tons of potatoes per year), but also tomatoes, onions, carrots, cucumbers, pepper and corn. Most of what it produces is sold to the nation’s capital, Luanda, where it is then redistributed to the provinces.

In addition to launching its production of tilapia in 2015, Agrolíder plans to begin exporting its products, and the first country on its list is the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Plans are also currently in the works for the company to unveil its first agro-industrial unit in Luanda, which will make use of its wide range of products and broaden its offerings by processing goods like chips, pickles, dried fruits and jams. However, João Macedo, Manager of Grupolíder, made it very clear that the goods produced were intended primarily for the domestic market, and that only once Angola’s needs were met, would export be considered.

Following Expo Cuanza Sul, Mr. Macedo told the Voz da América radio broadcaster that the fair was just the start of many other agricultural and livestock projects planned for the region. It was a sentiment that was echoed by the governor, as Mr. de Brito promised that regardless of size, any company expressing an interest in working in the region would be warmly welcomed and duly supported.

On a more local scale, in March 2015 Vice-Governor for Economic Affairs Dr. Franklim Fortunato e Silva announced that at least 6,000 acres of arable lands were being prepared for the Seles municipality, in central Cuanza Sul. These lands will be made available to approximately 1,200 small-scale provincial farmers.

Likewise, in the neighboring municipalities of Conda, and particularly in the Jombe village, nearly 500 families have recently begun to benefit from land plots in an effort to fight hunger and poverty. Bean and corn seeds will be provided by the government to kickstart the project, which has already been given an auspicious start following abundant rainfall.


“From the geostrategic viewpoint this province is wellsituated and Porto Amboim is regarded within an international framework because of the important construction works being carried out there”

Eusebio De Brito Teixeira, Governor of Cuanza Sul


Coffee crops are another area where significant progress can be made to regain the glory of pre-war times. In 2014, just 12,000 tons of coffee were produced – less than 10% of production levels during the colonial period. The provinces of Cuanza Sul and Uíge were among those most heavily affected by the war, but have since partially recovered and together are responsible for around 77% of the country’s coffee production.

Booming fishing industry and dried fish production

Cuanza Sul’s districts of Sumbe and Porto Amboim have seen their production of dried fish increase from 935 tons in 2013, to over 3,000 tons this year. The government is making special efforts to help female processors increase their participation in the industry. These efforts include providing access to micro-credit estimated at 100,000 kwanzas ($930) per person, and promoting capacity building activities.

In addition to fish drying, the rate of fish catching has also increased dramatically in Cuanza Sul, with over 17,000 tons caught in 2014, representing an increase of nearly 1,500 tons as compared to the previous year. Sardines were the most frequently caught variety of fish, followed by mackerel, marionga, cachucho and shrimp.

Porto do Amboim, a gateway to increased trade

In addition to being one of Angola’s top fishing areas, Porto Amboim is currently in the process of becoming a promising import/export hub for Angola. The goal is to create a port facility with low operating costs and a modern logistics system supported by an information system that streamlines the process of receiving ships and merchandise. There will be an important emphasis on security, and on ensuring that the facilities service players from both the private and public sectors. Keeping prices reasonable and ensuring that the services are easily adaptable to the varying needs of clients are also top priorities.

Directly or indirectly, the provinces of Cuanza Sul, Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, Malange and Huambo will benefit from the Amboim port. This potential hub will be equipped with multipurpose terminals that can accommodate bulk cargo, general cargo, containers, fuel, bulk solids, as well as agro-livestock products including manure, fertilizers and cattle.

Bernarda Martins, the Minister of Industry, has also announced that construction of an industrial complex has begun 15 miles north of the city of Porto Amboim. It will have green space to foster the growth of plants and agriculture, as well as areas dedicated to trade and services, management and technical support, and trade. The location of the industrial complex is considered ideal thanks to its proximity to essential resources such as energy and water, as well as its access to good roads. It will allow companies to receive and expand their production within the Lobito corridor, in Luanda and beyond.

Economic diversification and reducing oil dependence

Also located in Kwanza Sul is the secret sauce of the Angolan oil market: the National Institute of Petroleum (INP). Founded in 1983 and operating directly under the supervision of the ministries of petroleum and education, the INP supplies more than 10% of oil market’s need for skilled labor. Many of the top managers in the field are graduates of the institute.

As essential as oil is to the nation, in a bid to further diversify the economy and make it less dependent on petrodollars, the recovery of the local textile industry is also high on the agenda of the Ministry of Agriculture. A major part of its strategy involves boosting the production of cotton. A new area of 183,000 acres – partly financed by South Korea – has been planned for Cuanza Sul, the former nucleus of Angolan cotton production in pre-war times. The goal is to produce 100,000 tons of cotton per year thanks to these extra lands – 40% to be produced by small farmers and the rest from large plantations.