Monday, 31 March 2014

26 March: China and Brazil in African agriculture - news roundup

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.

Ghana negotiating stalled $3bn loan with China
In 2011 a $3bn loan for Ghana was agreed by the China Development Bank (and also possibly involving China’s EXIM Bank). The Chinese government was expected to disburse the full amount in three years, but until now only $600m has arrived for a gas project. Representatives of the Ghanaian government have therefore flown to China last weekend to discuss the release of funds.
(GhanaWeb / Reuters / Modern Ghana)

Ningxia rice project in the Volta Region signed
Ghana’s Volta Region has signed a deal with China’s Ningxia Province to develop rice fields around Wheta in the Ketu-North District. This comes after three years of visits and discussions, and will begin with a 100ha plot. “Front line organizations superintending the project are the Volta Region Development Agency (VRDA), a development group sponsored by the Volta Regional House of Chiefs and the Volta Regional Coordinating Council (VRCC).”
(Vibe Ghana /

Global Agribusiness Forum 2014
 March 24-25: The Global Agribusiness Forum is taking place in São Paulo this year. It involves some high-profile speakers including the director of EMBRAPA, the WTO director general, Roberto de Azevêdo, and Brazil’s representative at the FAO.
(GAF website)

World Bank paper on Chinese land reform
This paper by the World Bank looks at Chinese institutions’ role in the country’s land reform programmes. Based on an 8-year survey of 1200 households, this paper looks at how government land re-allocations and use of formal land certificates had an impact on agricultural growth and rural employment patterns.
(World Bank website / Direct link to the paper)

‘What’s in a number?’
This blog post by Global Witness’ land campaigner, Josie Cohen, looks at the problems of data on land investment statistics. It also discusses some of Global Witness’ work on ensuring open and fair land investments by governments and companies.

INBAR Initiative with Ethiopia and Ghana
Under a project funded by the EU and China Food Company, the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) has been working in Ethiopia and Ghana to reduce deforestation and land degradation. Domestic fuel wood and charcoal production are deemed the highest causes of deforestation, so the project aims to set up test sites for bamboo as an alternative energy source. Bamboo technologies were imported from China and modified to fit local contexts.

Mozambique Democratic Movement prepares for elections
This article looks at the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) as the main contender to Guebuza in the upcoming elections. It describes the party’s history and strengths, and looks at the reasons behind its recent successes in local elections around the country.
(Think Africa Press)

The Political Economy of Agricultural Statistics and Input Subsidies
This 2013 paper by Morten Jerven looks at the political economy of agricultural policies wherein it suggests that the ‘data’ cited in some countries’ agricultural sectors, are really a reflection of the policies themselves.
(Journal of Agrarian Change)

By Henry Tugendhat