Development of Agricultural Settlement to Increase Food Production and Employment in Angola
|The project is an active agricultural settlement|
|Gil Etzion, Executive Vice President, Africa Division, TAHAL Group|
|September 10, 2017|
TAHAL has planned and constructed an agricultural settlement project, which they have named the "Moshav", in a desolate area at Quiminha in Angola, about 70 Km from the capital Luanda. The project covering an area of about 5,000 hectares was funded by a consortium of banks and insurance companies headed by a Dutch bank, and backed by state securities.
After four years' work the project was completed by the middle of 2016. In addition to the infrastructure for roads, electricity, water, sewage and drainage the "Moshav" includes residential homes, plots for agricultural cultivation, net houses and a plant nursery for preparing vegetable seedlings; as well as areas for commercial agriculture together with advanced irrigation and processing equipment, chicken coops for egg layers (battery hens); a logistics center to include agricultural machinery, sorting, packing and storage installations, a center for vocational training and laboratories; a public community center to include a clinic, a bank branch, grocery store, schools and kindergartens, sports fields and facilities, and similar amenities. The project is designed to accommodate 300 families and plans to employ 4,000 workers.
Established by David Ben Gurion in 1952, TAHAL was privatized in the mid-1990s to become part of the Kardan group. TAHAL is now considered as Israel's largest engineering company. Although TAHAL is known mainly for water conveyance and treatment projects, in recent years the Company has started working in additional associated areas related to conveyance in piping and environmental issues.
Thanks to its efforts over the years in planning and completing projects for the conveyance of water as well as water and wastewater treatment in Israel and overseas, the Company has made a considerable contribution to water availability and the improvement of their quality in developing countries. It was therefore only natural that TAHAL started to develop agricultural projects as part of the water supply in Angola and elsewhere. This move conformed to TAHAL's strategic program according to which agricultural development and food security in developing countries became one of its main growth engines. Following the success of the Quiminha project in Angola TAHAL and its partner company signed agreements a month ago for four additional projects for the construction of integrated projects in Angola (3) and Zambia (1).
In its work in Angola TAHAL had to overcome a shortage of water and uncertain precipitation compounded by a lack of agro-technical knowledge together with the effects of a destructive civil war. These factors left the country with virtually no local production of fresh produce and the consequent need for costly food imports.
The planned crops to be grown in the "Moshav" project include a wide range of popular vegetables and fruit to meet the demand of the local market. Other field crops can be grown commercially and chicken coops are expected to produce 25 million eggs annually. For Angola the significant transformation of the food production in the surrounding region is most important not only for the project's potential harvest of about 60,000 tons of food per year, but also for its vital social aspects such as the creation of employment opportunities, additional nutrition and the prevention of crime.
The project's future population to be organized locally will consist of farmers who live in the project's area, young graduates from different locations or those young men and women who have expressed their desire to learn farming.
After the project's construction was completed the TAHAL Company and its partner won a contract to manage and operate the project for seven years. The intention here is that by the end of this period the population will have gained the knowledge needed to operate the project and thereby achieve self-management. Currently, the project is managed by a diverse professional team from all over the globe who are also in charge of managing the infrastructures for the present and future populations.
In summing up, thanks to its special know-how and vast experience, TAHAL can work to provide solutions to cater for the needs of developing countries and offer these countries a comprehensive solution, starting out with water and concluding with the potential to grow a harvest of agricultural produce that makes a real difference to the country's balance of payments while providing the population with sources of employment as well as food security.