Unitel is funding six talented Angolan students, selected from more than 500 applicants, to follow a programme of postgraduate training at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) in Cirencester.
The first intake started their studies on the RAU’s Graduate Diploma in Agriculture course in September last year, gaining expert knowledge and farm management experience along with the skills to train others once back in Angola.
Although reliant on subsistence farming, half of Angola’s food is still imported, with a lack of expertise around farm management, operations and agronomy.
To meet the challenge of diversifying the economy away from oil and its own Corporate Social Responsibility aims, Unitel acquired land in the Province of Malange, to turn into a cutting-edge commercial farm.
The 5,000 ha plot will see the returning group grow crops like maize and soybean, as well as developing a research station to feed innovation back into the centre and provide placements for RAU students in the future.
Around 100 ha will be ring-fenced for a new farming community with families receiving parcels of land and additional training, with the opportunity to take part in the commercial operation and grow future cash crops such as macadamia and mango.
Professor Joanna Price, vice-chancellor of the Royal Agricultural University, said, “Global food security is one of the biggest challenges of our age. The world is facing another agricultural revolution – this collaboration builds on our tradition of welcoming postgraduate and applied research students from around the world as well as partnering with industry to find solutions to the biggest issues.”
“This project will not only help me but bring great benefits to the community, like jobs, opportunities, education and health. The country’s economy will also be part of this gain. It’s not only the corporation that is going to win but the country as well,” said Adilson Vika, from Angola’s capital Luanda.