Friday, 11 July 2014

7 July: China and Brazil in African agriculture - news roundup

CBAAnewsThis news roundup has been collected on behalf of the China and Brazil in African Agriculture (CBAA) project.

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Zimbabwe to Follow Brazilian model of ethanol fuel blending
Zimbabwe’s Agriculture and Rural Development Authority board chairman Mr Basil Nyabadza has said that his country would move from the use of an E15 ethanol blend to an E85 ethanol blend in their cars, to cut down on imported fossil fuels (the number refers to the percentage of ethanol versus petrol). The chairman accepted that some car manufactures will have to readjust, but affirmed that “Zimbabwe has the same opportunity as Brazil to develop a dynamic biofuel industry to serve not only its own fuel needs but the region as well.”
(Manica Post)

Zimbabwe’s Alliance of Anhui-based investors growsThe Alliance of Anhui-Based Investors was established last year and has since then facilitated 37 Anhui companies’ engagement in Zimbabwean markets, with investment contracts worth $17m. These contracts have been signed with business and government leaders, and agriculture is listed as one of the areas of cooperation.
(Anhui News)

Zimbabwe’s tobacco sales exceed expectations
“The sales of tobacco in Zimbabwe reached 190 million kg, which has surpassed this year’s target of 180 million kg, as the country’s 2014 tobacco auction marketing season will end soon, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) announced Thursday.” This was sold for $604.7m and compares with 166m kg sold in 2013 for $616m. The article cites China as Zimbabwe’s biggest buyer of tobacco.

Brazil seeks greater agro-business ties with Angola
The Brazilian ambassador to Angola recently stressed the need for stronger ties between the two countries, during which she stressed the potential role of agro-business. She also spoke of a biofuel project in Angola that is currently being supported by Brazil.

‘China’s hunger for foreign food groups soars’
17% of China’s outbound mergers and acquisitions (M&As) this year have been in the food and beverage industries, almost matching M&As in the energy sector which has traditionally been China’s biggest. The targets are a mixture of winemakers, consumer goods and agricultural raw materials. The main buyers are both national state owned enterprises such as COFCO, and local governments such as Shanghai municipal government, but private companies are beginning to increase their activities too.
(Financial Times)
Comparing Chinese and Japanese Power Tillers in Tanzania
This paper by PhD student Andrew Agyei-Holmes looks at Chinese and Japanese power tillers in Tanzania and argues that despite the Chinese tillers being of lower quality, they are more accessible in terms of cost and maintenance, which has led to their much greater success with Tanzanian famers.
(Globelics Academy (pdf))
5 Challenges for Chinese agricultural policy
China’s Minister of Agriculture, Han Changfu, has outlined 5 key challenges for Chinese agriculture that should not be underestimated. They include: 1) increased droughts and floods, 2) downward pressure on agriculture prices, 3) difficulty raising rural incomes, 4) the complexity of rural reforms, 5) food safety and animal disease. This blog argues that Han’s simultaneous call for increased large-scale production in China is bound to make it even harder to meet these targets.
(Dim Sums blog)

Why China wants African students to learn Mandarin
Kenneth King has written a piece on the importance of promoting Chinese language and culture as part of its engagements with Africa. The article lists several key statistics regarding China’s education engagements with Africa reflecting the scale of these interactions.
(The Week)