The West African nation of Angola is making good progress in its desire to improve food security for a rapidly growing population, currently estimated at 24.5 million people. The Angolan government believes that building its own food processing capacity will help reduce the cost of importing food, while creating jobs for the Angolan people and preserving foreign exchange. Angola annually imports an estimated 800,000 MT of processed wheat flour from various origins.
The country was not always dependent on flour imports. With support from state wheat commissions and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) export market development programs, USW introduced HRW wheat to Angolan milling companies in the 1990s through the USDA PL 480 Title 1 monetization program. The Angolan milling industry processed a significant volume of HRW, and Angolan bakers very much liked the quality of the HRW flour to make popular baguettes and Portuguese-style bread. When the Title 1 program ended in 2001, donated supplies of U.S. HRW were no longer available, so the Angolan government turned to subsidizing imported flour.
Economic conditions and the government’s new focus created an opportunity to begin increasing flour milling capacity. To build on its prior experience in Angola, USW invested funds from the FAS Market Access Program (MAP) for a part-time consultant to provide timely and accurate information about U.S. HRW to Angolan flour millers, bakers, grain traders and government officials.
Early in 2016, under the FAS Quality Samples Program (QSP), USW coordinated the shipping of a HRW wheat sample to an Angolan mill, and a HRW flour sample to a bakery. Analysis of the samples all showed the HRW wheat and flour met industry standards and produced good quality products. The milling managers said they would strongly consider HRW for import, given competitive prices and expanded storage.
In a separate QSP activity, USW’s local representatives and staff from its West Coast Office in Portland, Ore., worked through the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) to purchase and mill HRW wheat and ship the flour to an Angola food processing company to demonstrate its use in pasta production. U.S. Ambassador Helena M. La Lime and representatives from USW and NAMA celebrated the arrival of this shipment in a ceremony at the processing company in late February 2017. Amb. La Lime highlighted the great potential U.S. wheat has in supporting Angola’s milling and food industries and said the United States “supports Angola’s efforts to diversify the economy through industrialization and increased local production of consumer goods.”
In September 2017, USDA reported that an Angolan buyer had purchased 27,500 MT (almost 992,000 bushels) of HRW, the first U.S. wheat exported to the West African nation in many years.“I believe U.S. wheat farmers would be proud to know that their wheat has the potential to help improve economic conditions in Angola,” said USW Regional Vice President Ed Wiese. “Through trade service, technical support and training funded by wheat farmers and USDA, our organization tries to build lasting relationships with our valued customers around the world. And, assuming prices remain competitive in the changing world wheat trade, we hope that our support will lead to increased demand for HRW to produce great bread, pasta and other wheat food products for the Angolan people.”