Tuesday, 6 August 2013

6 August: 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.

Mozambican civil society groups unite against the privatisation of land
More than 30 civil society organisations in Mozambique have united to launch a campaign this year against the privatisation of land. Organisations include the Human Rights League, Fó­rum Mulher, União Nacional de Camponeses (UNAC), Justiça Ambiental, and the Centro de Estudos Sociais and the campaign will involve marches, educational seminars and forms of resistance to the “invasion of land”. Prosavana has been identified as a main target of the campaign, however focus will also be placed on the extractive sectors in Tete and forestry exploration in the North of the country.
(Farmlandgrab.org / press release in Portuguese (pdf))

African orders of Chinese tractors
The article looks at increasing Chinese tractor sales in Africa, including their after-sales support and regular adaptation of technology to African environments. Of interest to the CBAA Ethiopia team, they cite a $100mil deal signed in March between YTO Group Corp and Ethiopia, for the eport of 1480 tractors. More generally figures from China’s General Administration of Customs are quoted showing an 8.57% growth in farm machinery exports to Africa last year.
(China Daily)

Brazil & Ghana work together on cowpea yields
SciDev.Net also carries an article looking at a Brazil-Ghana joint-research project focused on boosting cowpea yields.

Bamboo charcoal technology introduced to Ghana
The International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) is promoting bamboo charcoal technologies as a form of environmentally friendly renewable energy. They also aim for this to serve as an incentive to develop business opportunities around the growing of bamboo and other bio-energies in the future. China is a global leader in the production and use of bamboo charcoal and will be playing a leading role on this work through the Nanjing Forestry University and WENZHAO Bamboo Charcoal Co.
(Ghana Business News)

Calestous Juma on agricultural innovation in Africa
Faculty chair of Harvard Kennedy School and the author of ‘New Harvest: Agricultural innovation in Africa’, Prof. Calestous Juma, gives an interview on the need and opportunities for the innovation of agricultural technology in Africa. He gives specific mention to EMBRAPA as a model worth emulating with concern to small scale farmers and rural enterprises.
(IPP media)

China and the Zimbabwe elections
China was invited to send a five-person election observation team to monitor Zimbabwe’s elections last week, headed by Liu Guijin, the former Chinese government special envoy on African Affairs. China Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, later said on Saturday (3 August) that she hoped Zimbabwean parties would accept the election results that Liu’s election monitoring team had termed “peaceful, orderly and credible”. However, there were also accusations that Mr Mugabe had secured $800m in funding for his campaign from mining companies controlled by Chinese investors and senior Zimbabwean military officials.
(Global Times / XinhuaNet / Zimbabweelection.com)

Forbes - Chinese State-Owned Enterprises in Africa
 This op-ed aims to break down myths surrounding Chinese SOEs’ activities in Africa. It touches on investment patterns and effects, environmental and labour concerns, and the development of corporate governance standards.
(Forbes India)

BRICS Bank could be ready next year
After a recent meeting with his South African counterpart, Brazil’s foreign minister announced that the statutes of the BRICS bank could be concluded in 2014. How projects would be distributed and where the bank would be based remain key sticking points however.
(The Jakarta Globe)