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Wed, 10 May 2017 10:37 - Updated Wed, 10 May 2017 10:38

Moxico: Léua evolves into agricultural, training centre

Léua - Known for over the last 70 years (since 29 April 1929) as a great peanut and sweet potato producer, Léua "evolved" and turned its attention to the training of qualified manpower.

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A view of Léua village

Photo: Luena

A display of goods at Léua market place, in eastern Moxico province

Photo: Lucas Neto

Located 62 kilometers east of Luena, the capital of eastern Moxico province, Léua is a kind of "transit house" for those who want to reach the municipalities of Cameia, Luacano, Luau and Alto Zambeze, either through the Benguela Railways (CFB) or by road.

For this and other reasons, the municipality bets on the training of staff, seeking to adapt to the new reality or dynamics of the country, by creating the bases to support the program of diversification of the local economy and with man as the epicenter.

Léua tripled the generalized and free training of students for general education (from beginner to 12th grade), from 3,000 students, in the 2008/2012 period to 11,144, in the last five years (2012/2017).

This was made possible by the construction of 25 schools, corresponding to 116 classrooms in the last five years, against about 10 from 2008 to 2012.

Two years ago, the finalists of the 1st cycle of the secondary education stopped going to the city of Luena (62 kilometers) to continue their studies, due to the institutionalization, in 2015, of the II cycle in the locality where they live, with the construction of a school of this level, with 12 classrooms, laboratories of computers, biology and physics.

The school of the II cycle of the secondary education system trains students in physics and biological sciences, as well as in human and social sciences.

Associated with these infrastructures, there is a technical and vocational training school of arts and crafts that started in 2009.

The institution has so far trained 856 technicians in the specialties of computer science, sewing, carpentry, locksmith, electricity and masonry.

For the current school year, the infrastructure of four classrooms, located in the center of the village, enrolled 236 students.

Léua acting administrator, Jeremias Lologe, said the Education sector is the ones that has grown the most in the last eight years, due to the imperative of training men to work on the development of the municipality.

"We also have 12 temporary schools that serve 11,144 students to avoid people outside the education system. In comparison, we can say that there have been significant changes in all respects, "he said.

The official was delighted saying the students did not have to travel to Luena to study for lack of schools of the subsequent levels, causing a rural exodus.

The municipal Education chief inspector, Arlindo Izaquel Paulo, who has been working in Léua for the last 30 years, confirms the improvement to the working conditions: "In the past, we did not work with computers, modern pictures, schools, secretaries, light, among other means. Today, we work with very advanced technology, we move into the globalization of teaching and learning," he stated.

Nelsa Sonha Labama, 20, a student, is a member of the group of the first pre-finalists and reports that she was afraid to leave the family to study at the end of cycle I at a time when the municipality did not have the II Cycle school.

To her surprise, the following year, the Government institutionalized secondary education, and the girl got rid of the fear of losing the family and today is about to finish the dreamed second cycle training.

José Martins Daimon, another student, makes a "copy" of the statements of the previous colleague, remembering that education is the best gift that the Government has given to him.

To get an idea, in the five-year period (2008/2012), the municipality had only one health center and six medical posts in some neighborhoods. The increase took place in the 2012/2017 period, with 14 hospitals, three health centers, two of which built in the town headquarters.

The town, with a population estimated at more than 15,000 inhabitants, also has a maternal and infant center.

The population of Liangongo, Léua’s only commune, used to get assistance from a town hospital center.

Notwithstanding these first-line facilities, five health posts were also erected, totaling 11 health units built in the last five years.

On the other hand, there is still shortage of human resources, since the region currently has only one expatriate doctor, 19 technicians, three medium, 18 auxiliary technicians, three diagnostic technicians, and 31 administrative technicians, totaling 71 staff.

To ensure the work, 110 traditional midwives were recently trained to perform clean and safe deliveries on the outskirts locations.

Trade gains a momentum

Despite the potential of the flora that the municipality has, the exploitation of wood is lower than expected. The same is true of the underground wealth that awaits potential investors.

Bernardo Zé Amândio Miwaca, director of Léua Municipal Economic and Reproductive Division, confirmed the increase in convenience stores, from 12 in 2008/2012 to 18 in the last five years.

Léua is also a source for the diversification of the economy, from agriculture, logging, artisanal fishing, to tourism.

The official also highlighted the circulation of the Benguela Railways (CFB) train, which already facilitates the flow of goods to the provincial capital, Luena, which is an added value for the municipality population.

Agriculture lines up with food security
Assuming that agriculture is the basis source of of food, nutritional and fundamental security for human development, the locality continues to focus on the production of cassava, sweet potato, peanut, corn, banana, sugar cane and vegetables.

Currently, sixty-two (62) agricultural associations, compared to 26 eight years ago, are working on the operationalization, promotion and creation of premises for agricultural sustainability.

Léua municipal director, José Tomás, assured that the associations have the support of the administration, to the extent that funds are available. In the last five years, seven associations have benefited from bank credit to develop the activity.

Adding to this, in the agro-livestock sector, the region created hectares for animal husbandry, but still on an experiment basis.

Fishing is also making major strides, driven by six similar associations. On the other hand, local fishermen are appealing for means of work as because the three existing boats are insufficient.

One of the leaders of the Agriculture Association “17 de Setembro”, Abilio Alberto ( 63), said that the association has been there for the last 10 years and deals in the farming of fruits like banana orchards, lemon and cassava, peanut, potatoes, corn and various vegetables.

At the "4 de Abril" Association, which has existed since 2011, farmer Mandembue Yave ( 42), has 75 workers, including 35 women and 40 men. The group produces large-scale cassava and collects 10 tons each season.

"In 2012, beans and corn were harvested in a larger volume than ever before," said the farmer, claiming for seeds, material and other tools to enable him to harvest 18 tons of products at this time and increase production in the next agricultural season.

Filomena Catchipa, a 50-year-old peasant, living in the "17 de Setembro" neighborhood, dedicated her life to agriculture since 2003, considered that working in the field requires patience and application.

Political parties "cement" democracy

António Yesse Doí, secretary of the opposition UNITA Municipal Committee in Léua, said that the party is working hard on the  mobilization and encouragement of the population to participate in the democratic feast: the elections.

" Léua is a municipality that is far behind in everything," he stated, arguing that there are still hotspots of political intolerance, but the hard work of sensitizing the militants of all the parties represented there (MPLA, UNITA, CASA-CE and PRS) has helped settle these irregularities.

"The coexistence of various political organisations n the municipality is good. UNITA, CASA-CE, PRS and MPLA maintain cordial relations, despite some misunderstandings with certain MPLA militants, which is natural in politics," he commented.

The municipal secretary of the ruling party’s youth wing (JMPLA) in Léua, Piedade Luís Tchivesse, who controls over 6,000 militants grouped in 100 grassroots organizations, supports that viewpoint and adds that a particular campaign has been dedicated to encouraging youth to join education.

Contrary to UNITA, Léua’s opposition PRS party secretary, Puissa Muntunda, sees with good eyes the development of the municipality, taking into account the construction of infrastructures, in addition to the healthy coexistence with other political organisations.

"We have no problems with anyone," Lucas Mário, secretary of CASA-CE in Léua told Angop.

Fairer social services
Decentralization of public services, such as civil registration and the issuing of identity cards, which serves more than 200 people per day, bank branch and others, reduces the existing asymmetry that forced citizens and civil servants to travel to Luena to handle these situations.

The current administrator, Jeremias Ussono Lologe, says that the lack of a branch of the Savings and Credit Bank (BPC) is  causing labor inconveniences, since the workers of Education, Health and other sectors were forced to move. He himself had to travel to Luena for the survey of his wages.

"We're back to normal. It is a kind of social justice," he acknowledged, with a cheerful air, alluding to the fact that such services are established in the municipality. The "headache" now is to improve the supply of electricity and water.

The Water sector has improved, with the inauguration, recently, of four water systems and an equal number of laundry in the Brito, Sacazemba II, Caltingo, Calubala and Antigos Combatentes neighborhoods.

With regard to housing, the municipality benefited from a  Housing Program, with the construction of 200 dwellings under  the municipal subprogram, with 100 homes being built and already inhabited by teachers, nurses, administrative staff and others, especially young people.

The pace of infrastructure was accompanied by the construction of bridges.

Evangelization reaches remote areas

The lasting peace that the country has been enjoying for the last 15 years and the complete demining of the areas until early in 2000 considered of risk, allowed the expansion of the gospel to the religious institutions represented in the Léua and the consequent moralization of the society.

The pastor of the Assembly of God in Léua, Eduardo Bimba Mendes, tells in detail, the metamorphoses underwent by this religious denomination, to get established in the municipality.

"The church has developed a lot. We started with a mass and grass chapel in 2001, and another one built of adobe. The work of God continued, because we don’t care much about a place when the subject is the work of God," says humbly.

The peak of the expansion of the evangelization took place in the 2012/2014 period, not only for building the largest permanent structure, with the capacity for more than 500 faithful, but also for expanding church services to the most remote areas.

For the pastor of the Evangelical Church of the Brothers in Angola (IEIA), Víctor Rodrigues, alike other religious institutions, his is growing in terms of the gospel, with 10 chapels with more than 1,000 faithful.

Parallel to the religious aspect, the associativism also grows every day. According to the deputy secretary of the Municipal Youth Council, Ledo Sacatonde, the youth association controls 17 groups of the same age group, which fight against delinquency, domestic violence and encourage citizenship actions.

Luena / Léua's main road network is still very precarious. Motorists and taxi drivers face enormous difficulties in locomotion. Since being elevated to the category of municipality, on April 29, 1929, it has never been paved.
Two years ago the works for asphalting were recorded on a 62 kilometer course, but only the subsoil layer was compacted, since the financial and economic crisis that the country is experiencing caused a "closure" to the works.
In contrast, the National Road Institute of Angola (INEA) in Moxico assured that the restart of the works is soon, after new negotiations with the financing lines of the projects.
So far, the transport business card continues to be provided by the Benguela Railways, which have a weekly frequency of two services, on Wednesdays and Tuesdays, facilitating the transportation of people, goods and services. goods.
A principal via de comunicação rodoviária do Luena/Léua é ainda muito precária. Os automobilistas e taxistas enfrentam enormes dificuldades para a locomoção. Desde que foi elevado à categoria de município, a 29 de Abril de 1929, nunca foi asfaltada.
Há dois anos foi consignada a obra para asfaltagem num percurso de 62 quilómetros, mas fez-se apenas a desmatação, compactação da camada da sub-base, pois a crise financeira e económica que o país vive causou um “defeso” às obras.
Em contrapartida, o Instituto Nacional de Estradas de Angola (INEA) no Moxico assegurou que o reinício das obras está para breve, após novas negociações com as linhas de financiamento dos empreendimentos.
Até agora, o cartão-de-visita a nível dos transportes continua a ser assegurado pelos Caminhos-de-Ferro de Benguela, que têm uma frequência semanal de dois serviços, às quartas e terças-feiras, facilitando a transportação de pessoas, bens e mercadorias.

Chief follows  up the growth

A resident of the municipality that saw him born more than 60 years ago, the chief Linha Dumbo, has followed up the transformation of Léua from a simple locality to an administrative region.

The name of the region, for historical reasons, as s explained by the old man, has never changed. The settler found and maintained it.

The name Léua honors a “capengue” of the swamp, located in the far east of the village-headquarters of the municipality, currently inhabited by 21,447 people.

Also on the origins of the locality, the chief stated that most of the people that live in the region come from the ex-Zaire (current Democratic Republic of the Congo) and entered Angola through Lunda Sul and Lunda Norte, to the east of the municipality.

They lived temporarily on the coast of Angola and then along the Cassai River, settling where it is now known as the municipality of Léua.

Most of the inhabitants are of the Cokwe ethnic group (the most populous) and Luvale. Mbundas, Luchazes and Lunda Dembo also inhabit in smaller numbers. The region is also run by the chiefs Nharingombe, Ricomeno, Sacutoya, Ngudungo, Nhihunda and Muachiavua.

More than just stories, Linha considered as "safe steps" the construction of schools for the general education system, with emphasis to the subsystem of the secondary education, increase in sanitary units in the most remote places and access to basic social services, such as water, civil registry and others.

The traditional authority also highlighted the agricultural development that is being boosted in the region, sustaining the reputation of being the largest producer of peanut, cassava and potato, and is now trying cereals and vegetables, as well as fishing.

The municipality is also the first of the four existing, to the east of Luena, followed by Cameia, Luacano and Luau. It occupies an area of 2,899 square kilometers, inhabited by 21.447 thousand people, with a population density of 3,4 inhabitants per square kilometre. It also has an economically active population, estimated at 30 percent.

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