Angola Table of Contents
The food-processing industry suffered not only from the general economic constraints in Angola but also from government-imposed import restrictions. By 1988 the industry depended almost entirely on imports for its raw materials. By 1985 food processing had reached only 37 percent of its 1973 level. The most successful branches of the industry were maize processing (84 percent of the 1973 level), wheat milling (57 percent), and brewing (55 percent). Since independence, there have been some major investments in brewing and soft drinks, sugar processing, baking and flour milling, and vegetable oil production. The government controlled the bread-making industry and operated eight bakeries. Considerable improvements have been made in factory equipment to boost production; nevertheless, production came to a standstill twice in 1985 because of a lack of wheat flour.
War and the sudden departure of Portuguese technicians in 1975 adversely affected sugar production. The main problems were a decline in cane production and a deterioration in the quality of cane. Formerly grown on large Portuguese-owned plantations, cane was produced in the 1980s by state-run organizations assisted by Cuban technical advisers. After the Portuguese abandoned the plantations, most of the sugarcane plants were not maintained. The sucrose content in Angolan sugarcane dropped from a pre-1975 average of 9.5 percent to an average of only 3.5 percent in 1987, making it necessary to grow nearly three times as much cane to produce the equivalent amount of sugar. Among many other problems that aggravated sugar production were the shortage of water for irrigation, lack of equipment and fertilizers, theft, and poor drainage in the cane fields. Furthermore, there has been a large decline in the area cultivated, inappropriate cane varieties have been introduced, and machinery in the sugar mills has become dilapidated. Although some sugar was exported at the end of the colonial period (18,303 tons in 1973), an average of about 55,000 tons a year was imported from Cuba between 1979 and 1986.
Data as of February 1989