Wednesday, 19 June 2013

5 June: China and Brazil in African Agriculture - news roundup

By Henry Tugendhat

This news roundup has been collected on behalf of the China and Brazil in African Agriculture (CBAA) project. For regular updates from the project, sign up to the CBAA newsletter.

UNAC calls for halt on ProSavana
Leaders of Mozambique’s National Peasants Union (UNAC) have called for a halt in the development of ProSavana plans saying that in its present form it will lead to land grabs and jeopardize the local production system based on family-run agriculture. They were scheduled to meet the Japanese government ahead of the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) this week. The 2nd article below reports that Abe met with Guebuza on the sidelines of the conference to confirm Japan’s ongoing support for the project but does not mention any talks with UNAC.
(Japan Times / Global Post / UNAC declaration - in Portuguese)

Extra Funding Needed for ProSavana
Mozambican Minister for Agriculture, whilst at TICAD has said that they are planning to secure extra funding for the ProSavana project. Currently Japan is the biggest investor in the project with $11 million USD.

Separately, the governments of Japan and Mozambique signed trade and investment agreements at the summit.

China-DAC Study Group Meeting on African Agriculture
The China-DAC Study Group will hold a roundtable discussion on “Effective Development Cooperation: Drawing Lessons from Agricultural Development in Africa” on the 18th June of this year (2013) in Beijing. Prof. Li Xiaoyun of CBAA will give the keynote presentation that will draw from the study group’s main findings on a joint research trip to Zimbabwe in November 2012.
(Meeting Agenda / Study trip)

AgriTT Call for Proposals
AgriTT is a new initiative between the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Ministry of Agriculture, China, and the Forum on Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) to promote transfer of agricultural technologies, knowledge and management innovations from China to low-income countries in Africa and Southeast Asia.
AgriTT website

AU Agricultural Commissioner supports land investments
The AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Mrs Rhoda Tumusiime, supported the increase of foreign investments in African agriculture on behalf of the AU at the conference in Addis Ababa two weeks ago. She said that problems involved have not necessarily been because of investors, but weak bargaining by African governments which she calls on to be tougher.
(Trade Mark Southern Africa)

African Economic Outlook launch
The All Parliamentary Group on Overseas Development, The Royal Africa Society, and ODI will host the UK launch of the African Economic Outlook (AEO) 2013 in June. The AEO 2013 thematic chapter will analyse the patterns and underlying drivers of structural change in Africa in greater detail and place a special emphasis on the role of natural resources and economic diversification in this process.
(Royal African Society)

Tensions in an “ethical” land investment in Mozambique
"A multi-million dollar “ethical” plantation development in north-western Mozambique - the initiative of a clutch of Scandinavian faith-based organizations - has faced alleged acts of sabotage by the very people it was designed to assist, illustrating the divisions between foreign benefactors and local communities.” The fund was intended to create a 100,000ha pine and eucalyptus plantation that would benefit investors as well as local communities.

Japan’s Abe Pledges $32billion of aid to Africa
Japanese Prime Minister has pledged $32 billion USD in aid to the African continent at the end of the last day of the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development. The move is seen to be intended to counter China’s growing influence in the region. Other commitments made during the summit include doubling the number of jobs offered by Japanese companies to Africans to 400,000 by the next summit in 2018, and trebling the value of Japanese infrastructure exports to $300 billion USD a year by 2020.
(New Straits Times /