Monday, 10 November 2014

7 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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Mozambique opens consulate in Macau
Based on the growing commercial relations between China and Mozambique, the latter has committed to opening a new consulate in Macau. Last year Chinese companies invested $1.6bn into Mozambique, and it is hoped that this figure will surpass $2bn this year.

Agricultural Innovation Marketplace Bids Open
The Agricultural Innovation Marketplace is an initiative that brings together research organisations from Brazil’s EMBRAPA and partner countries in Africa, Latin America and Caribbean. Funded by organisations such as DFID, the FAO, and the Gates Foundation it seeks to drive forward innovation and development of agriculture and animal husbandry in those regions. Submission of pre-proposals for this year is now open, and examples of past projects are mentioned in this article.
(Post Online / ANBA – in Portuguese)

Rice production grows in Sub-Saharan Africa
Rice has become a bigger part of African diets over the past three decades, and it has been predicted that rice-imports to Sub-Saharan Africa will increase faster than anywhere else in the world. It is said to be popular because it takes much less time to prepare than traditional African staples such as cassava, but local production is not keeping up with demand. This means that of 21 million tonnes consumed annually, about 6.5 million tonnes are imported from Asia at a cost of $1.7m. African countries are hoping to cover this shortfall themselves in the coming years.

‘Where is the evidence that land grabs are good for economic progress?’
This article questions whether land relocations will really benefit resource-rich countries. This is an interest question to be raised within the remit of the project, both concerning countries setting the policies such as Ethiopia, and the companies coming in from outside such as those in Mozambique’s ProSavana project. He concludes that until it is guaranteed that such development programmes will really bring national benefits, governments should err on the side of their smallholder farming communities that are at risk of displacement.
(The Guardian)

China’s forestry trade and investment in Africa
A CIFOR study into Chinese logging companies in Zambia finds that they create fewer jobs than non-Chinese companies, but facilitate more outlets for local logging groups. The research conducted interviews with local authorities, managers of logging companies, retired workers and heads of villages in 25 communities near the concessions of four logging companies — two Chinese-owned, one Zambian and one South African. Much of the timber is exported to China through Mozambique.
(CIFOR blog / CIFOR)

Ethiopia as the new ‘African Tiger’
Over the past week, a number of articles have been published in the Guardian’s development section on Ethiopia as the new ‘African Tiger’. They mark 30 years since the famine, and this piece is written by a professor at Addis Ababa University.
(The Guardian)

Large-Scale Land Investments Book
This book entitled ‘The Governance of Large-Scale Farmland Investments in Sub-Saharan Africa’ is free to download. The book looks specifically at the host country governance in Africa, so as to better understand the regulatory frameworks and challenges faced. The case study countries are Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia.