ANGOLA – Angola imports 400,000 tons of rice a year to add to its locally grown 25,000 tons to market needs, says the Secretary of State for Agriculture, Carlos Alberto Pinto.

In order to meets its needs and reduce imports, the country, emerging from decades long conflict, has to put in place about 300,000 hectares of land for the production of the grain.

According to Carlos Pinto, in the 2015/2016 agricultural season, Angola produced 24,576 tons of rice, 12,000 of which was produced by peasant families and the rest by agricultural firms, leaving the country practically dependent on imports.

Carlos Alberto Pinto released the information while addressing the opening of the 4th session of the Joint Coordination Committee that is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The official stated that the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests will continue working with its development partners to grow better rice varieties adapted to the country’s climate conditions.

He added that research will be conducted to ensure Angola returns to large scale rice production in its traditional Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, Moxico, Malanjue and Bié provinces.

In addition, he stated that Angola will expand its rice production to other regions of the country and stimulate the growing of mountain rice as well in the northern Uíge province and other regions.

According to the official, the Government is ready to allocate fertile lands to interested investors to boost production, as rice is a staple in the country, only second to maize, cassava and beans.