Thursday, 9 January 2014

8 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.

Sino Zim Cotton Holding opens new ginnery
President Mugabe officially commissioned Sino Zim Cotton Holding’s new plant in Harare last month. The company is a joint venture set up between China and Zimbabwe in 2010 and the new ginnery has a capacity of processing 25000 metric tonnes of cotton. Yarn is then destined for both domestic and international markets in Africa, Asia and Europe. The company “boasts a farmer database of over 20 000 annually on a combined contract of 100 000 hectares and has seven regional offices in the different areas in the country.”
(Zimbabwe Herald)

Chinese group plans agricultural tech production in Ghana
A Chinese company called the Shandong Group has been in talks with Ghana’s Northern Regional Coordinating (NRCC) to set up manufacturing and assembly plants of agricultural equipment in Tamale. “The plant will produced and assemble equipments; these he outlined as wheeler tracks, Motor kings, Bowler Taxies, power Tiller Machine that could be used for sanitation and agricultural purposes.” Accra and Kumasi are also mentioned as potential sites for such plants. The company is also interested in investing in commercialised rice cultivation for domestic consumption and export.

Zambian Mining Union Wins Wage increase with Chinese company
“Zambia’s biggest mining union agreed to a 12 percent wage increase with Jinchuan Group Ltd. in a deal that sets a benchmark for the rest of the industry in Africa’s biggest copper producer.” Workers’ rights in relation to Chinese extraction companies has played a large part in shaping opinions on China-Africa relations in Western and African media, so this case is an important development.
(Business Week)

China-Africa engagement: has it peaked?
Kai Xue argues that China’s three main aims in African countries are 1) winning support on the One China Policy, 2) to export goods and services, 3) to buy natural resources. On this basis, he argues that point one is largely covered and that on point two Africa as a whole still only makes up a small share of China’s export market (5%), and this is unlikely to change. On point three he argues that mineral prices are dropping and African government policies/tariffs are strengthening, thus potentially making the continent less of a priority for Chinese businesses and policy-makers in the near future.
(This is Africa - free registration required)

Conflicts over land and threats to customary land tenure
This article by Pauline Peters published at the end of last year in African Affairs explores land disputes between customary land tenure and the state. It centres on the motivations of both the state and local chieftains, in their disputes and looks at the impacts on farmers involved.
(African Affairs – subscription required)

Mozambique's small farmers fear Brazilian-style agriculture
 This article looks at smallholder farmers’ challenges in the face of ProSavana. Land registration has proved ineffective for many and communication between the government and farmers over land sales is often lacking. The article lists companies that have already started developing tracts of land sold by the government and concludes that many are worried about the Brazilian model in Mozambique.
(The Guardian)

China accused of stealth land grab over Xai-Xai Project in Mozambique
This article looks at developments in the Xai-Xai rice project in Mozambique being carried out by the Chinese group Wanbao. The article has embedded video clips of interviews with the various actors involved and affected by the project.
(The Ecologist)