Wednesday, 5 March 2014

18 February 2014: China & 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.

Kenya and Brazil to sign $80m agricultural deal
According to the Kenyan Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, they are due to sign with Brazil on an $80mil USD credit facility in the coming weeks. Brazil has apparently already approved the loan though and so they are expecting it to arrive within the next 6 months. It will be used to subsidise fertilizers, and fund agricultural research.

Brazil moves to boost Mozambique’s cotton sector
Mozambique’s Cotton Institute (IAM) received a scoping mission (missão) from the Brazilian Development Agency (ABC) in December (2013). They discussed a proposed South-South cooperation project with Mozambique and Malawi that aims to boost the Cotton sector. This project would involve the commercialisation of cotton seeds, technology transfers, human resource training, etc. It has yet to be seen whether this will be approved.
(Mozambique Cotton Institute (in Portuguese))

Mozambique to increase wood production
Mozambique is expected to produce 150,000m­­2 of wooden logs in 2014, up 50,000 against 2013. China is the biggest consumer of the country’s logging industry, having imported 85% of the country’s total exports between 2000 and 2010. Mozambique has forest resources covering an area of around 40.6 million hectares and 14.7 million hectares of other wooded areas.

Sichuan claims success in food security pilot project
Sichuan provincial government has claimed success in a pilot project that incentivizes farmers to plant more grain. Under the old system, farmers received subsidies whether they farmed or not. However this pilot project has linked subsidies with how much grain is planted (but does not seem to check up on harvesting thereafter). The article highlights a township that only has 3% of cropland idle this year compared with 10% last year and suggests some people have been incentivized to return from city jobs to farm. It remains to be seen whether this will be rolled out more widely in the future.
(in Chinese))

List of 50 upcoming Brazilian agriculture events
Mark Horn who blogs prolifically on Brazilian Agriculture (@BRZAgro) has put together the following list of 50 key conferences, trade fairs, and events concerning Brazilian agriculture in the coming months.
(AgricultureBrazil Facebook page)

John Deere inaugurates two new factories in Brazil
John Deere, in cooperation with Hitachi Construction Machinery, has invested $180 million in two new factories in Brazil to produce heavy machinery, including tractors. The factories have been built in Indaiatuba near Sao Paulo with a view to directly employ 600 people and indirectly employ a further 1800.
(PainelFlorestal (in Portuguese))

BRICS co-operation on Science & Technology
BRICS leaders have committed to increasing cooperation on science, technology and innovation. Each of the 5 countries would have responsibility for separate themes, with Brazil leading on climate change; Russia would take water resources and pollution treatment; India would be responsible for geospatial technology; China would run renewable energy and energy efficiency; and South Africa would lead astronomy. The BRICS countries agreed on a memorandum at the meeting that is expected to be signed at the next BRICS summit in Brazil in July this year.
(University World News)

‘Why agricultural investment “principles” must be buried’
This op-ed by Pambazuka press criticises the FAO’s investment principles, because it claims they allow for power imbalances over the industrial control of agricultural production to continue and deepen. They suggest this will damage many smallholder farmers’ livelihoods.