Between 2009 and 2013, this South-South cooperation project sought to review the rural vocational training methodology of the National Rural Learning Service (SENAR) of Brazil for technicians of the Institute of Agrarian Development (IDA) of Angola, with the initial objective of to promote the improvement of income and the quality of life of family farmers in the province of Kwanza Sul.
The predominant agriculture in Angola is subsistence, with rudimentary agricultural practices and the use of hand tools. As a result, the low productivity of crops limits the income and quality of life of small family farmers. In the coastal province of Kwanza Sul, the inefficient management of plantations has negative consequences for the livelihood of the families of the rural producers, who end up depending on the importation of food. Thus, the lower supply of food typical of the local diet compromises the food and nutritional security of these communities.
The training and professionalisation of technicians related to agriculture and rural producers are therefore a possible instrument to revitalize this productive sector and foster the growth of food production. The main challenge is to adapt more efficient agricultural methods to the characteristics of the Angolan rural environment, as well as to introduce them, through educational actions, in the sociocultural context of traditional communities.
In this cooperation project, technical training was the main strategy adopted to promote the improvement of the quality of life of rural communities in the province of Kwanza Sul, Angola. The SENAR technicians adapted the methodology of the rural vocational training courses used in Brazil to qualify Angolan farmers and rural workers. After the first diagnosis of local rural working conditions, technicians also included a module on the importance of the correct use of basic personal protective equipment, especially with regard to the safe handling of fertilizers. In particular, the project transferred knowledge through the training of 20 IDA technicians and local agents. Trained as instructors, they can now disseminate SENAR's methodology to a larger number of family farmers.
Thanks to the formations, some basic techniques adapted to the Angolan socio-cultural reality have helped to improve the productivity of the crops in the communities served. For example, family farmers have learned how to construct and manipulate a wooden instrument (called crowbar) that allows demarcating terrain in contours, a simple solution to protect plantations rooted in rough terrain from rainfall, and efficiency. Basic techniques of soil analysis also began to guide farmers on the fertility of the land. SENAR educators also conducted training on the use of ratchets, another very simple and efficient tool for fertilization and planting in small areas.
The exchange of professionals from both countries involved two visits of SENAR technicians to Angola between 2010 and 2012, and a visit of a group of 13 Angolan technicians to Brazil in 2012 to meet rural properties in Paraná. On this occasion, the group also participated in a program focused on management and entrepreneurship, in addition to training on the processing of soybeans for food use.
This cooperation project bore fruit in both countries: on the one hand, it took agricultural training techniques to Angola; on the other hand, laid the foundations for the development by SENAR of its own methodology for adapting programs of technical assistance and vocational training in other developing countries (the entity currently has a specific unit for international cooperation).
On the Brazilian side: Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) and National Rural Apprenticeship Service (SENAR)
For the Angolan side: Institute of Agrarian Development (IDA / Ministry of Agriculture)
Implementing agency: National Rural Apprenticeship Service (SENAR)
Daniel Küppel Carrara,
National Rural Apprenticeship Service (SENAR)