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Future Agricultures blog

Opinion and comment from Future Agricultures researchers on agricultural politics, science and society in Africa.

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15 April: China and Brazil in African agriculture - news roundup

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Tuesday, 15 April 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments
China_brazilflagsThis news roundup has been collected on behalf of the China and Brazil in African Agriculture (CBAA) project.

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New articles on Chinese involvements in African agriculture

This month’s edition of GREAT insights magazine from the European Centre for Development Policy Management has a focus on China-Africa engagements, including several articles looking at agriculture in particular. This includes pieces by CBAA researchers, Kojo Amanor and Dawit Alemu.
Rising powers: new articles

Respect Labour Laws, Chinese Told

‘The Chinese Federation of Zimbabwe’ was recently launched to defend the business and social interests of Chinese migrants in the country. Local government minister Ignatius Chombo spoke on behalf of Joice Mujuru to praise relations between Zimbabwe and China but also advise the group that they should be careful to observe labour laws and professional standards.
(New Zimbabwe)

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Innovation and commitment are vital for gender-equitable and inclusive investments

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Tuesday, 15 April 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments

aiglia_1_250x167by Martha Osorio, Gender and Rural Development Officer, FAO, on 14 Apr 2014

Can land and agricultural investments yield positive results for impoverished and marginalized rural communities? If yes, how and under what conditions? What measures should be adopted to ensure that women’s and men livelihoods are improved when foreign and domestic agriculture private investments take place?

These were some of the questions discussed in Cape Town, South Africa from 5 to 7 March 2014 at the "Multi-stakeholder Conference on Agricultural Investment, Gender and Land in Africa: Towards inclusive, equitable and socially responsible investment". Tags: aiglia2014
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After 10 years, does CAADP understand political economy?

by Blessings Chinsinga
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Wednesday, 02 April 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments

voter in Juba

The Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) has clocked up 10 years since its endorsement by the Heads of State and Government in 2003 in Maputo, Mozambique. The underlying objective of CAADP is to reconfigure how agricultural issues are formulated, policies are generated and debated, investment decisions are implemented, and interventions scrutinized. To achieve the desired transformation of the agricultural, governments committed themselves to allocate at least 10% of their annual budgets to the agricultural sector – which would, in turn, enable them to attain at least 6% agricultural growth per annum so as to catalyze poverty reduction on a sustainable basis.

The 10th CAADP Partnership Platform (PP) meeting in Durban, South Africa from 18th to 22nd March 2014 was a critical one. It provided the opportunity to review CAADP progress and plan for the next decade. The 10th CAADP PP was themed ’Transforming Africa’s agriculture for shared prosperity: Harnessing opportunities for inclusive growth and sustainable development’. This theme was in total sync with CAADP’s overarching goal, which is to facilitate the continent’s agricultural transformation and sustained inclusive agricultural growth for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods.

Tags: political economy, CAADP
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26 March: China and Brazil in African agriculture - news roundup

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Wednesday, 26 March 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments
China_brazilflagsThis news roundup has been collected on behalf of the China and Brazil in African Agriculture (CBAA) project.

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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 / Farmlandgrab.org)

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Dams, flooding and displacement: the Tokwe Mukorsi dam

by Ian Scoones
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Friday, 21 March 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments

tokwe-satelliteZimbabwe’s heavy rainfall this season has had its costs. The most dramatic has been the major flooding in Masvingo as the long awaited Tokwe Mukorsi dam filled more rapidly than expected. Rather than filling gradually over four years, with a phased process of relocation of people, it did so over a matter of weeks. There were threats to the dam wall, and a fear a major catastrophe might result.

Dramatic satellite images of the extent of flooding have been shared, and SABC broadcast a short news item on the unfolding drama, showing images of the floods, and the damage caused. The flooding has resulted in over 4500 people having to be evacuated at short notice, and shifted to a number of holding camps in the lowveld.

Tags: land, water, Zimbabwe, water
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21 March 2014: China & Brazil in African Agriculture - news roundup

by Henry Tugendhat
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Friday, 21 March 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments
China_brazilflagsThis news roundup has been collected on behalf of the China and Brazil in African Agriculture (CBAA) project.

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project, sign up to the CBAA newsletter.

Brazil innovates for under-financed Mozambican agriculture

This article presents some Brazilian engagements in Mozambique, including the Mozambique Food and Nutrition Security Programme. This combines US and Brazilian initiatives through USAID and Embrapa respectively, and has already introduced seeds originally developed in the USA. Presumably this part of the programme is linked to the partnerships between large US seed companies such as Monsanto or Dupont, and Embrapa that already exist in Brazil.
(Independent European Daily Express)

China urges Zimbabwe government to tackle corruption

The CEO of Industrial Commercial Bank of China has urged Zimbabwean officials to clamp down on corruption. According to the article below, he appears to suggest that Xi Jinping’s new policy agenda on corruption from last year explains China’s economic growth. Meanwhile, a representative from the China Railway Construction Corporation has encouraged Zimbabwean officials to bring down tariff barriers and provide preferential policies to incentivise Foreign Direct Investment.
(NewsDay)

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Competing narratives on sustainable agriculture: what is the future that women want?

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Thursday, 20 March 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments

By Vera Rocca, Carleton University/Future Agricultures Consortium

the_future_that_women_want

While the Multi-Stakeholder Conference on Agricultural Investment, Gender and Land in Africa aimed to explore models of responsible and gender equitable investment, many conference discussions centered on the ideal types of business models, responsible governance and proactive policies to achieve greater gender equality.  There was a large elephant lurking in the room, however, that could not be ignored: the definition of sustainable agriculture and its implications for women.

Tags: Agribusiness, commercialising agricultures, land, social difference
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'Commuter farmers' in Tanzania’s valley of sugar and rice

by Rebecca Smalley
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Wednesday, 19 March 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments

RSmalley

Late last year, I took part in a scoping study of sugarcane outgrowing at the Kilombero Sugar Company in south-eastern Tanzania. The study is part of work by Future Agricultures on impacts of various models of agricultural commercialisation. Kilombero Sugar is a ‘nucleus–outgrower’ model, with two estates and two factories surrounded by outgrower farmers who supply sugarcane throughout the long harvesting season via producer associations. Although both sugarcane and this part of Tanzania are attracting new investors (the area is part of the SAGCOT development corridor), Kilombero Sugar itself is well established and there have been outgrowers since the early 1960s.

Most of our interviews were conducted in two villages in the southern part of the outgrowing area. Among a sample of 37 outgrowers, the average sugarcane holding was 6.7 acres, although that figure is skewed by one unusually large 50-acre holding. We also interviewed villagers who are unable, or choose not, to cultivate cane.

During the interviews, we noticed something striking. Many of the villagers own or rent farming plots tens of kilometres away from their homes. These plots are typically located near villages much farther down the valley. It’s a two-hour journey by bus, and then perhaps another stage by bicycle or motorbike to reach the field.

Tags: laca, land, sugar, Tanzania
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11 March 2014: China & Brazil in African Agriculture - news roundup

by Henry Tugendhat
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Tuesday, 11 March 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments
China_brazilflagsThis news roundup has been collected on behalf of the China and Brazil in African Agriculture (CBAA) project.

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project, sign up to the CBAA newsletter.


ABC sends missions on cotton in Africa

The Brazilian cooperation agency sent out scoping missions to Burundi, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in November and December of last year (2013). This was with a view to the feasibility of setting up a technical cooperation project on cotton production in the four countries. The project would include: technology transfer; improvement of seed distribution systems; support on legislation regarding hybrid seeds; training for technical staff and extension workers. (Agência Brasileira de Cooperação) (in Portuguese).

Tags: CBAA, cbaa-roundup, China, brics, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
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Engendering CAADP: What must be done in the next 10 years?

by Ruth Hall
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Friday, 07 March 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments
A wide-ranging debate about the past 10 years of CAADP acknowledged that the process has been largely gender-blind. There was broad agreement that, in the next 10 years, CAADP must make visible women’s investment in agriculture and address the challenges of the future by reorienting agricultural investment towards women and towards sustainable agriculture.

Tags: CAADP
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Agricultural investment models for replication and scaling up: Ways forward for achieving gender equitable agricultural commercialisation?

by Christine Okali
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Friday, 07 March 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments

Land accumulation by investors or investment companies for large-scale farming to the disadvantage of small-scale farmers is part of the framework within which gender equitable agricultural commercialisation is being discussed  in the Agricultural Investment, Gender and Land in Africa conference. Days 1 and 2 of the workshop detailed the diversity of such investments – referred to as ‘Business Models’. Case study evidence demonstrated the often disadvantaged terms on which women, in comparison with men, are incorporated into these schemes, regardless of the investment model. The debate around the disadvantages faced by women in labour markets has already been explored in the feminist literature, along with the understanding that their persistence reflects how deeply gender bias is embedded across a range of institutions. The transformation of rural production systems, their increasing commodification and the individualisation of productive resources, are likely to be experienced very differently by women and men.

Tags: landgrabs, land
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Doing business with farmers: Is there a good model?

by Beatrice Ouma
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Thursday, 06 March 2014 Category Hot topic 1 Comment

IMG_7383

One of today’s parallel sessions of the Agricultural Investment, gender and Land conference looked at the business models through which investors engage farmers .

Tags: landgrabs, land
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How are women and men differently affected by commercial investments in primary agriculture in Africa?

by Ruth Hall
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Thursday, 06 March 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments

parallel_session

This was debated, on the basis of field-based research from Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia, at the conference on Agricultural Investment, Gender and Land in Africa conference.

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Agricultural investments: Giving back power to the people

by Beatrice Ouma
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Wednesday, 05 March 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments

Mongella_Keynote_address

Over 130 representatives from government, the private sector, civil society, producer organisations, development partners, donors and academics are attending the Agricultural Investment, Gender and Land in Africa conference being held in Cape Town, South Africa.

Tags: Untagged
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Land investments in Africa: It's all about responsible governance

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Monday, 03 March 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments

by Sue Mbaya, Land Policy Initiative

The controversy surrounding large scale land based investments (LSLBI) is multifaceted. The parameters of this controversy are well known and have received wide coverage. They include  the extent of land occupied by LSLBI, the extent of stakeholder consultation – or lack thereof,  the quality of land governance institutions and their capability to oversee transactions of the magnitude characteristic of LSLBI.

Tags: land, landgrabs
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26 February 2014: China & Brazil in African Agriculture - news roundup

by Henry Tugendhat
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Wednesday, 26 February 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments

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

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project, sign up to the CBAA newsletter.

Chinese ambassador to Ghana launches agriculture project
Mr Jung Gong has launched the ‘Gong Agricultural Project’ located at Anyaboni near Asesewa in the Upper Manya District. Funded by the Ghana China Friendship Association, the project will irrigate 500 acres of land and aquaculture for the production of crops. The project aims to “raise income levels of farmers in the area, reduce poverty, malnutrition and child labour in the project area.” New fishing methods will also be introduced. (businessghana.com)

China-Zimbabwe trade exceeds $1.1bil in 2013

The Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe stated last week that trade between the two countries has grown from $310mil in 2003 to $1.1bil last year (2013). Despite this, the article says that Zimbabwe is ranked 26th out of 58 trading groups in Africa. South Africa is the biggest trader with $59bil in 2013.(dailynews)

These figures come amid further reports that Chinese trade with Africa surpassed $200bil in 2013, with investments into Africa increasing by 44% that year. This is double the $100bil of trade registered in 2008.(timesofman.com)

China-Senegal “China will teach Africa to fish”

During a state meeting with Senegalese president Macky Sall in Beijing on Saturday, Xi Jinping is reported to have said that China will “teach them how to fish instead of giving them fishes [sic.] directly.” Xi also told Sall that China was interested in increasing agricultural imports from Senegal and would carry out cooperation on plantation and processing. (thebricspost.com)

Brazil to remain agricultural powerhouse

A report by the research body of a financial institution that focuses on agriculture, Radobank, has written about the prospects of Brazil’s agricultural sector. In it they predict a steady rise of Brazilian beef and soybean, with a slight decline in corn exports.(cattlenetwork.com)

China to finance new farming practices

China will offer customized financial services to new farming practices in order to promote agricultural modernisation. The intention is to give better loans and grace periods for family farms and co-operatives seeking to buy more modern machinery, or infrastructure.(chinadaily.com)

IATP Lectures on China Meat Industry

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy has recently hosted a seminar series looking at the state and future of China’s meat industry. The four main topics are pork, chickens, the dairy industry and animal feed. The reports published as part of the conference can be downloaded from IAT blog.

‘Donors go home’

There is a new paper looking at ‘non-traditional state actors and the creation of development space in Zambia’. The paper is written by P. Kragelund in the Third World Quarterly.

New Alliance Articles

The Guardian’s development website has recently published several articles assessing the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Articles look at Ghana, Ethiopia, and Tanzania, and pay particular attention to the impacts on smallholder farmers.

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.

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What does the International Year of Family Farming mean for women?

by Christine Okali
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Monday, 24 February 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments

Farming family, Ghana

The year 2014 has been declared the International Year of Family Farming by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).  Its objective is ‘to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farming by focusing world attention on its significant role in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas’.

In FAO’s definition, family farming ‘includes all family-based agricultural activities, and it is linked to several areas of rural development. Family farming is a means of organizing agricultural, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production which is managed and operated by a family and predominantly reliant on family labour, including both women’s and men’s.’

FAO adds further explanation as to why family farming is important:

  • ‘Family and small-scale farming are inextricably linked to world food security.
  • Family farming preserves traditional food products, while contributing to a balanced diet and safeguarding the world’s agro-biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources.
  • Family farming represents an opportunity to boost local economies, especially when combined with specific policies aimed at social protection and well-being of communities.’

It is not often that such an explicit link is made between smallholders or small-scale farming, and family production, even when the agricultural policy focus is on subsistence production and/or household consumption. As a policy declaration, this could be interpreted as a bold move to focus agricultural research and development on the people involved - with a view to enhancing their level of commitment to agriculture, food production and food security, and care of the environment.

But what does this mean for women in sub-Saharan Africa? What have we learnt from feminist critiques of policies focused on farm families, their farming activities and their links with broader political and economic processes?

Tags: gender
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18 February 2014: China & Brazil in African Agriculture - news roundup

by Henry Tugendhat
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Tuesday, 18 February 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments

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

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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.
(Coastweek.com)

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))

Tags: cbaa-roundup
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The New Alliance: Colin Poulton quoted in The Guardian

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Tuesday, 18 February 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments

The Guardian highlights criticism of the G8's New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in a feature today, which includes a comment from Future Agricultures researcher Colin Poulton.

The New Alliance is intended to raise agricultural production in Africa, in part through pledges encouraging investment from private sector investors. But critics say that small farmers have been shut out of the negotiations and that significant investments have been in non-food crops such as biofuels.

The newspaper has also created an interactive online guide to the commitments made in different countries under the New Alliance.

 

Tags: new alliance
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11 February 2014: China and Brazil in African Agriculture - news roundup

by Henry Tugendhat
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Tuesday, 11 February 2014 Category Hot topic 0 Comments

CBAAnewsThis 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.

China solar power engagements in Zimbabwe

Last week, China donated 525 solar systems to power rural institutions that are not connected to the national grid. This included schools, clinics and agricultural extension offices. This comes as Chinese company Powerway has announced plans to invest in a $160million solar power plant in Zimbabwe that would put out 100MW.

China’s New Food Security Strategy

This blog post picks up on a paper recently put together by the State Council’s Development Research Center, explaining the Chinese government’s new strategy on food security. The paper itself highlights four key changes, including: omitting soybeans from the calculations of China’s self-dependency on foodstuffs; equally promote quality and quantities of outputs whilst maintaining a focus on agricultural sustainability; protect and boost its food security interests amid increasingly open markets; and shared responsibility on food security between central and local authorities. This blog does a very good job of analysing and summarising the key points in the paper.

China solar power engagements in Zimbabwe

 

Last week, China donated 525 solar systems to power rural institutions that are not connected to the national grid. This included schools, clinics and agricultural extension offices. This comes as Chinese company Powerway has announced plans to invest in a $160million solar power plant in Zimbabwe that would put out 100MW.

· Solar units (AllAfrica)

· Powerway Plant (AllAfrica)

· International Research Initiative on Brazil and Africa

· Tanzania becoming the new Chinese province in Africa (AllAfrica)

China’s New Food Security Strategy

This blog post picks up on a paper recently put together by the State Council’s Development Research Center, explaining the Chinese government’s new strategy on food security. The paper itself highlights four key changes, including: omitting soybeans from the calculations of China’s self-dependency on foodstuffs; equally promote quality and quantities of outputs whilst maintaining a focus on agricultural sustainability; protect and boost its food security interests amid increasingly open markets; and shared responsibility on food security between central and local authorities. This blog does a very good job of analysing and summarising the key points in the paper.

· Chinese article

· English-language blog (Dimsums)

Tags: cbaa-roundup
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