Thursday, 23 January 2014

22 January 2014: China and Brazil in African Agriculture - news roundup

By Henry TugendhatCBAAnews

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 first policy document of 2014 focuses on agriculture
China’s first policy document of this year focuses on agriculture for the 11th year in a row. The first document of the year is seen as a setting of the key domestic agenda each year, and this year’s focuses on a deepening of the agricultural modernisation policies that were put forward last year. This includes the demarcation of at least 120million hectares of arable land for farming to ensure food security, and the promotion of technical innovations in the seed industry and agricultural mechanisation. Furthermore, environmental concerns and social issues of income inequalities are listed as important challenges.
Reuters / Xinhua (English) / Xinhua (Chinese)

Japan pledges 500m Yen to Ethiopian agriculture
Jan 13: as part of Abe’s week-long tour of Africa, he brought a trade delegation consisting of numerous business-people from the agricultural sector, and pledged 500 million Yen towards agricultural development in Ethiopia.
(NTD Television)

Ethiopian Investment Agency withdraws 3,000 investment permits
The EIA has withdrawn 3,000 permits from foreign and Ethiopian companies that have been too slow in making headway on planned projects. This affects Chinese investors among others. (The article speaks of land investors being affected, but it is unclear whether all 3,000 of these revoked permits pertain to land investments.)(

Napula civil society organisations reject Japan-Mozambique accord
CSOs in Napula, Mozambique, demand an answer to their open letter addressed last year to the heads of state of Mozambique and Japan, and claim that ‘the government of Japan’s “generous support” takes place in a context of continued colonialism’.

Book: ‘A study of China’s Foreign Aid: an Asian perspective’
This new book aims to provide a perspective of China’s aid strategy from the perspective of Asian authors, drawn largely from Japan, but also China and the Philippines. “The chapters offer a thorough examination of data to show how China has created knowledge in its long experiences of aid and how this accumulated knowledge could contribute to other developing countries. The book also examines China's aid philosophy and strategy through an Asian perspective, instead of the Western perspective that is postulated in existing academic literature.”
(Publisher’s website)

South-South Land Grabs
 This article looks at the rise of land investors from a number of emerging economies and argues that we need to look beyond the BRICS. It focuses on an Egyptian firm’s engagements in Sudanese agriculture in times of crisis.
(Pambazuka News)

Ruth Hall: investments in farmers over land
This year is the International Year of Family Farming. In this article for the journal Great Insights, Ruth Hall argues that it does not matter how “responsible” land investments are, they will never be as effective as investing in farmers as means of improving food security for the farmers affected and their countries.
(Great Insights)

Cofco Corp. seeks stake in Dutch grain trader
China’s largest state-owned grain trader, Cofco Corp., has offered to buy a minority stake of $250m in Dutch grain trade Nidera BV. Cofco has a number of units under it involved in the processing and trade of commodities such as rice and oil seeds. This deal would give Cofco access to grain-producing areas in Latin America, and anywhere else Nidera has business.