Monday, 8 July 2013

5 July: 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.

China’s support for African Agriculture
According to the China Chamber of International Commerce, 174 private Chinese enterprises invested $320 million since July 2012, contributing to the creation of more than 42000 jobs. The article explains Chinese private enterprises are in a better position to help African agricultural development than SOEs and gives examples of projects in Mozambique, the use of loans, technology transfers, knowledge transfers, etc.
(China Daily)

Food security summit in Addis Ababa
The AU, FAO, Lula Institute conference on food security in Africa took place this past weekend with 15 heads of African states under the title “Toward African Renaissance: Renewed Partnership for a Unified Approach to End Hunger in Africa”. The articles below review key statements of the conference:
Daily Times
/ Instituto Lula on FAO (in Portuguese) / Instituto Lula on AU president’s comments (in Portuguese) / Instituto Lula on Joint statement (in Portuguese)

Lessons for ProSavana from Mozfoods
This FT article looking at ProSavana’s challenges draws on a UK-based company’s experiences in Mozambique to highlight the challenges faced in turning a profit on agricultural developments in the region. The article concludes that finding the balance between company profits and developing local farmers’ productivity and interests will be the key challenge in this project. (FT)

Greenpeace report criticises use of toxic pesticides in Chinese agriculture
A Greenpeace study of traditional Chinese herbal medicines showed residues of pesticides considered highly hazardous by the World Health Organization (WHO). A similar study on tea was said to find similar findings. Chinese sales of agricultural chemicals doubled between 2000 and 2009 and are predicted to grow by almost 3% per year until 2050. Greenpeace has criticised this as a reflection of “the cracks in the current industrial agriculture system” and have urged the Chinese government to impose stricter control on pesticide use and focus more on ecological farming.

World Bank urges Ethiopia to shift focus away from agriculture towards industry
Following strong growth rates based on agricultural outputs, the World Bank has urged the country to shift its focus towards industry, ensuring that businesses have sufficient access to finance. At present the industrial sector stands at 10% of GDP and credit to the private sector was equivalent to 14% of GDP compared with a regional average of 23% according to the WB. The Ethiopian government says it is keen to seek investments particularly from the BRICS countries.
(Ventures Africa)

Indian Exim-Bank pushes for African shift away from agriculture towards infrastructure
In an interview on the sidelines of the African Export-Import Bank’s 20th anniversary, the Chairman and Managing Director of India’s Export-Import Bank (Ranganathan) gave an interview saying that infrastructure should be a more important focus for Indian investments than agriculture.
(The Hindu)

African East Asian Affairs Journal
A second edition of this journal has just been launched including articles on “Lending money: Latin America and China’s New Engagement (Lilliana Avendaño)” and “Chinese economic co-operation with Central Africa and the transfer of knowledge and know-how (Théophile Dzaka-Kikouta, Francis Kern, Chiara Gonella)” among others. The first issue of the journal was published in 2012 and before that was known as the China Monitor having started in 2006.
(Centre for Chinese Studies [pdf])