Monday, 7 October 2013

2 October: 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.

CBAAnewsBrazil donates rice to WFP efforts in Ethiopia
Last week (24 September 2013), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) received 1,513 metric tons of rice, valued at US$718,000 (more than 13 million Ethiopian birr), from the Government of Brazil to assist refugees from Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea living in various camps in Ethiopia. Brazil’s contributions to the WFP have increased rapidly from about $1 million in 2007, to $83 million in 2012.
(World Food Programme)

Zhejiang Normal University hosts China-Africa symposium
Zhejiang Normal University’s Institute of African Studies convened the ‘International Symposium on Governance and Development Experiences of China and African Countries’ last week (24 September 2013). More than 100 experts and 50 institutions from both sides attended the event, hosted at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
(Zhejiang Normal University: English version / Chinese version)

Guinea Bissau to receive Chinese investment in cotton farming
A delegation of Chinese entrepreneurs and investors from Liaoning Province have visited Guinea Bissau’s eastern Bafata region with a view to revive cotton farming in the region. The region previously grew cotton for export to France until 2002, and has since produced Cashew nuts which are said to be less profitable.

CPPCC Vice-Chairman visits Mozambique
­Chinese Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Qi Xuchun, visited Mozambique last week. A commitment was made to strengthen ties in agriculture among other sectors.
(People’s Daily)
Bingtuan ‘to rent five per cent of Ukraine'
The state-owned enterprise (SOE) Xinjiang Production and Construction Corp has signed a memorandum of understanding with the SOE Ukraine Agricultural Holding Group, which would involve the largest land leasing agreement conducted by a Chinese enterprise. Initially, 100,000ha will be leased, with a view to increase this to 3 million hectares “for development of modern farming, modern livestock production, modern breeding, modern agricultural production and distribution, modern agricultural support and safety systems, etc. The cooperation period is 50 years, from June 1, 2013 to June 1, 2063.” If that total is reached it would represent 9% of Ukraine’s arable land (and 5% of Ukraine’s total land mass).
(South China Morning Post /

Brazil approves sale of farmland to foreigners
Brazil has authorized the sale of farmland to foreigners for the first time since 2010, when the country's attorney general imposed limits on foreign land control in one of the world's top producers of agricultural commodities. Three properties were sold in the states of in the states of Goias, Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais.
(Reuters, via

“Are land grabs an opportunity for Africa?”
Panel discussion [video] on whether land investments are really an opportunity for Africa, involving former president of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano.
(Al Jazeera)

Ethiopia’s land sales: impacts on indigenous peoples
This article criticises the Ethiopian government’s sale of land to foreign investors, saying that Indigenous Peoples are being forced to become dependent on aid handouts as a result. It also highlights criticism raised at World Bank, DfID and USAID programmes aimed at supporting ‘villagization’.
(IC Magazine, via

Can the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) continue?
The current AGOA agreement is due to end in September 2015 and lobbying has begun to convince the US of its value, including a recent visit from South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minster (Rob Davies) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Zambia. Critics however say it has been unable to meet its goals of further liberalising African economies and bringing the US closer to the African region; comparing this situation with the recent success of emerging powers in Africa.
(South African Institute of International Affairs, posted on AllAfrica / The Times of Zambia, posted on AllAfrica)