Monday, 24 November 2014

19 November 2014: 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.

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New briefing explores Chinese agricultural investment in Uganda
A new policy brief has just been published on the China-Africa Research Initiative based at Johns Hopkins, SAIS, regarding ‘The Political Ecology of Chinese Agricultural Investment in Uganda: the case of Hanhe Farm’. This paper was prepared by Josh Maiyo about Hebei Hanhe farm.

China-Africa Agricultural Cooperation Forum held in Hainan
The 5th China-Africa Roundtable Summit in Hainan included a ‘China-Africa Agricultural Cooperation Forum’. This invited representatives from related Chinese ministries, African embassies, the FAO, the WFP, etc. Hainan-Africa cooperation potential was spoken about with senior local officials stressing the climatic similarities between the Chinese island and African environments. They also spoke about building a “21st Century Silk Road of the Sea” and an “agricultural cooperation corridor” between the two regions.
( – in Chinese / Sierra Express media)

Technology sales and trainings were also highlighted at the event by a representative of China’s Ministry of Agriculture.
( – in Chinese)

Inefficient Chinese agribusiness models in Africa?
The blogger Dim Sums argues that China is exporting the most inefficient parts of its own agricultural sector to Africa. The author looks first at investments and the transfer of fertilizer, pesticide and seed-breeding, which he argues have all been big concerns for their excessive use in China this year. Second he looks at the companies involved in producing food for Chinese markets, but argues they are often have no experience of actually producing food and are notoriously inefficient at storing and transporting grain.
(Dim Sums)
ABC interview key figures on South-South cooperation
The Agência Brasileira de Cooperação (ABC) has published a series of interviews with people related to its South-South cooperation programmes. Relevant to African cooperation projects, this has included an interview with the Director of EMBRAPA, Maurício Antônio Lopes, and the Beninese Ambassador to Brasil, Isidore Monsi.
(Interview with Maurício Antônio Lopes / Interview with Isidore Monsi)

Agribusiness Due-Diligence
The French development agency, AFD, along with partners have put together the ‘Guide to due diligence of agribusiness projects that affect land and property rights’. This seeks to guide French investments as “It presents an Analytical Framework and a Guide that each institution can now appropriate and use to change their internal project evaluation procedures.”

Zimbabwe VP accused over Brazilian chicken imports
Zimbabwe’s Vice President Joice Mujuru has been accused of importing Brazilian chickens to Zimbabwe despite the country’s import bans to protect local farmers. However, Joice Mujuru is also taking legal action against the Herald and Sunday Mail newspapers for defamation over claims that she was involved in a plot to assassinate Robert Mugabe.
(AllAfrica / Summary of accusations – BBC / Joice Mujuru’s statement)

Negotiating Investment Contracts for Farmland and Water
The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) has released a Guide to Negotiating Investment Contracts for Farmland and Water, developed by its team of lawyers, social scientists and environmentalists. “Based on a more than three-year investigation of 80 agricultural investment contracts, the user-friendly guide provides options for countries to develop rural economies, boost employment, build agricultural processing factories, protect against the impacts of climate change and ensure enough water for all.”

‘Transfers Keep Rural Counties Afloat in China’
Blog article looking at how rural county budgets in China are given regular transfers to remain afloat. Since taxes from farmers’ is often insufficient to cover the costs of the local bureaux, award systems have been set up to discourage local governments to resort to selling off the land for development projects. However, local governments still complain that if the subsidies they give to their farmers are counted with the costs the farmers bear to produce, then it is clear the grain is still being sold for cheaper than it is worth in urban areas.
(Dim Sums)