The Future Agricultures Consortium produces research in a variety of formats.Several key research series are available for download, circulation and citation.

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Latest articles

Chinese Agricultural Expertise Support in Ethiopia: Approaches, Motives and Perspectives
March 23, 2015 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 114
Dawit Alemu, Seth Cook and Qi Gubo
February 2015

The Government of Ethiopia’s (GoE’s) economic growth strategy, Agriculture Development Led Industrialization (ADLI, formulated in 1991), places very high priority on accelerating agricultural growth and achieving food security. Agriculture is also a main focus of the current GoE’s Growth and Transformation Plan, as was also the case for its predecessors. The effort to modernise the agricultural sector, the GoE has been heavily investing in agricultural education, research and extension. Linked with such investment, the GoE duly considers the importance of technology and skill transfer from all over the world.

This paper documents the role of the different acts of cooperation between China and Ethiopia in ensuring the transfer of agricultural technology and knowledge in the process of agricultural modernisation in the country. It specifically assesses how these interventions are aligned with ongoing public programmes; how they are perceived by both locals and Chinese; what challenges and opportunities are emerging in achieving the objectives set in their design, especially in support of the Ethiopian agricultural extension system’s improvement; and what implications can be drawn for other development partners engaged in support of the Ethiopian agricultural sector.

This paper is part of our project on China and Brazil in African Agriculture.


FAC Working Paper 114 Pdf 368.51 KB 2 downloads


A study of Brazilian Trilateral Development Cooperation in Mozambique: The case of ProSAVANA and ProALIMENTOS
March 4, 2015 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 113
Natalia N. Fingerman
February 2015

The distribution of power in the international system has dramatically changed in the twenty-first century. Emerging countries like China, India, Brazil and South Africa have expanded their capacity of influence worldwide, shifting the balance of international organisations. A remarkable feature of the rise of these emerging countries has been their engagement in development assistance through South-South cooperation mechanisms and innovative aid modalities. In general, the limited literature around South-South cooperation and Trilateral Development Cooperation (TDC) is split into two antagonist perspectives: enthusiasts and sceptics.

In particular, no study has ever attempted to identify empirically the motivations, ideas, values and practices of all different actors involved during the implementation process, so ‘there is limited evidence on its impact and value from the recipient’s country perspective and whether or not it functions as an effective “partnership”. In order to narrow this gap, this research considers implementation as a complex social process, arguing that one must look at the ground of the implementation process to analyse whether TDC may reshape the architecture of development aid and what its impacts are on partners.

This paper is part of our project on China and Brazil in African Agriculture.


FAC Working Paper 113 Pdf 619.84 KB 0 downloads


Chinese and Brazilian agricultural models in Mozambique. The case of the Chinese Agricultural Technology Demonstration Centre and of the Brazilian ProALIMENTOS programme
March 4, 2015 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 112
Sérgio Chichava and Natalia N. Fingermann
February 2015

China and Brazil have called increasing attention from the international community, especially in the field of development cooperation. In Africa, for instance, both countries have expanded their development activities and defined agriculture as one of the main sectors to boost mutual cooperation. Recognising that agriculture played a key role in both China’s and Brazil’s economic development, these countries, usually called ‘emerging donors’ or ‘new donors’, state that unlike ‘traditional donors’ they will be able to bring their respective agriculture-based developmental experiences to African countries.

Although both countries stress how their own local experience may inspire African agriculture, it is important to highlight that the modalities and models of technology transfer might differ from one country to another. In order to understand how Chinese and Brazilian models and modalities play out in the African context, this study has examined and compared the activities of a Chinese and a Brazilian project carried out in the district of Boane in Mozambique. Due to cultural and communication issues, as well as managerial practices, the Chinese agricultural model is facing more difficulties in Mozambique than the Brazilian one, although the Chinese have more financial capacity to implement their agriculture-based experience.

This paper is part of our project on China and Brazil in African Agriculture.


FAC Working Paper 112 Pdf 342.02 KB 0 downloads


Mozambican elite in a Chinese rice ‘friendship’: an ethnographic study of the Xai-Xai irrigation scheme
February 6, 2015 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 111
Sérgio Chichava
February 2015

In April 2007, the Mozambican and the Chinese governments through the Provinces of Gaza and Hubei respectively set up an agreement for the establishment of a Chinese ‘friendship’ rice farm at the Lower Limpopo scheme (also known as Xai-Xai irrigation scheme). Among the main objectives of this partnership was agricultural technology transfer from Chinese to Mozambican farmers. In order to benefit from this technology transfer, the Mozambican government asked local farmers to organise themselves within an association, named ARPONE. The association intended to develop agriculture and livestock.

However, it appeared that the main people who created the association and started to work alongside the Chinese company were mostly Frelimo members, the party ruling the country since its independence in 1975. In the same way, some high-up employees of Regadio do Baixo Limpopo (RBL), the public company in charge of the irrigation scheme, joined ARPONE and started to produce rice. It is important to stress that high state officials are usually linked to Frelimo. The main purpose of this paper, which focuses on the example of ARPONE association farmers in Xai-Xai, is to show how the Mozambican political elite – usually linked to Frelimo – are using their positions within the party or the state to take advantage of the Chinese project.

This paper is part of our project on China and Brazil in African Agriculture.


FAC Working Paper 111 V2 Pdf 340.83 KB 0 downloads


Priests, technicians and traders? The discursive politics of Brazil’s agricultural cooperation in Mozambique
February 5, 2015 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 110
Lídia Cabral
February 2015

Questions such as whose interests drive Brazil into Africa, what development models are carried along and what is in them for African countries have been guiding research and debates about Brazil’s cooperation in Africa. This paper contributes to this emerging body of work by looking at the specific case of agricultural cooperation. The analysis highlights the discursive side of Brazilian cooperation, where competing narratives about models and purposes reproduce different versions of reality for reasons related to the political character of cooperation. Discourse is hence an expression of the political. One account frames Brazil’s agricultural cooperation as a domain of priests, technicians and traders, driven, respectively, by doctrinal, technical fixing and business rationales. This provides an initial frame of reference to distil actors’ narratives about cooperation programmes.

The paper focuses specifically on two cooperation initiatives in Mozambique: ProSavana and More Food International. The key for understanding competing narratives on these two programmes and how they intermingle and change over time can be found in Brazil’s domestic sphere. The two programmes have been interpreted as an expression of contradictions in Brazil’s agriculture and particularly its dualistic character, typically framed as family farming versus agribusiness. Through the lenses of discourse analysis, this paper offers a critical reading of the interplay between priests, technicians and traders, or different thrusts in cooperation relations. The interplay suggests that the terms of Brazil’s agriculture dualism need recasting. While the paper prioritises the discussion of how Brazil’s internal agricultural politics pervade the realm of development cooperation abroad, forthcoming research will reflect more extensively on why this happens.

This paper is part of our project on China and Brazil in African Agriculture.


FAC Working Paper 110 C Pdf 801.56 KB 0 downloads


Chinese Training Courses for African Officials: a “Win-Win” Engagement?
December 18, 2014 / Policy Briefs

SAIS-CARI Policy Brief No. 3
by Henry Tugendhat

December, 2014

Some 30,000 African public officials have participated in Chinese training courses, yet little is known about their goals, structure, or content. Henry Tugendhat observed classroom trainings, interviewed trainees and reviewed publicly available course content. He argues that while China’s training courses do promote technology and knowledge transfers, they are also clearly organized to increase trade opportunities for Chinese firms, develop better political ties, and offer a positive image of China. This report, based on interviews and classroom observation, is the first study of its kind.

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Chinese Agricultural Investment in Mozambique: the Case of Wanbao Rice Farm
December 18, 2014 / Policy Briefs

SAIS-CARI Policy Brief No. 2
by Sérgio Chichava

November 2014

China’s largest agricultural investment in Africa is reported to be the Hubei Gaza Friendship Farm, established in 2007 in Mozambique and now managed by a private Chinese firm, Wanbao Africa Agriculture Development Limited (WAADL). While officials have welcomed external investment as a source of employment and development, local communities have decried the project as a “land grab”. Tensions among local activists, the government and the Chinese investors continue to run high, posing a challenge to the future of agricultural investment in the country.

Published by the SAIS China Africa Research Initiative

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International and regional guidelines on land governance and land-based investments: An agenda for African states
December 3, 2014 / Policy Briefs

Future Agricultures policy brief 77
Emmanuel Sulle and Ruth Hall

Global and regional guidelines have been developed in the period 2009–2014 to improve land governance in the context of large-scale land acquisitions in developing countries. These provide an opportunity for affected countries to make necessary reforms to mitigate negative impacts of such acquisitions. They also challenge governments, private companies and rural communities to know their rights and responsibilities and to act on them.

Many African countries are yet to fully implement land and other natural resources policy frameworks developed by the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). These require states to strengthen the rights of rural populations to access, control and own such resources and to decentralise land administration. To date, rural communities in many countries lack proper knowledge about their rights and responsibilities; the roles of public and private sector and civil society – in their national policies; and legal frameworks governing natural resources.

African governments have challenged themselves to develop proper plans, garner political support at all levels of government and implement the intended policy, legal and institutional reforms on the ground. The global and regional guidelines must still be translated into binding regulations and enforceable laws in each country. This is a precondition for the global and regional guidelines to improve land governance and regulate land-based investments, as intended by all member states that acceded to them.


Policy Brief 077 Pdf 356.54 KB 0 downloads


Emerging Seed Markets: The Role of Brazilian, Chinese and Indian Seeds in African Agriculture
November 7, 2014 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 79
Henry Tugendhat

In recent years, three of the largest emerging powers, Brazil, China and India, have all brought about incredible agricultural revolutions and seeds have played a big part in that story. Nowadays, their seed markets are all within the world’s top ten in terms of value and their companies are eager to expand into new markets, particularly in Africa. Their development cooperation agendas are already focused on facilitating these overseas moves, and they come with a strong narrative that these seed producers and technical experts can help bring about similar success for Africa. It remains to be seen how true this is; however, we can already identify and analyse certain trends in the technology and policy that each is transferring.

This policy brief examines the development and expansion of each country’s seed industry and how it is engaging with African seed systems. An understanding of these trends matters primarily for the African farmers and policymakers engaging with these new flows, but it can also shed light on contrasts and opportunities for collaboration on seeds with the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN).


Policy Brief 079 Pdf 271.22 KB 0 downloads


Revue de la recherche et de la politique en matière d’adaptation au changement climatique dans le secteur de l’agriculture en Afrique centrale
October 24, 2014 / Documents de travail / Working Papers in French

Document de travail 98
Jacob Mbua Ngeve, Abdulai Jalloh et Michel Ndjatsana
Juin 2014

Le présent rapport est le fruit d’une revue réalisée afin de synthétiser les travaux de recherche et les politiques en matière d’adaptation de l’agriculture au changement climatique en Afrique centrale. Dans cette région, le changement climatique pose des défis d’envergure au secteur de l’agriculture. L’Afrique est généralement considérée comme l’une des régions les plus vulnérables au changement climatique pour des causes diverses: sécheresses extrêmes, inondations, régimes fonciers inadéquats, dépendance excessive vis-à-vis de l’agriculture pluviale et pauvreté généralisée.

L’aide des gouvernements et des donateurs est nécessaire pour formuler les stratégies d’adaptation au changement climatique, car ce phénomène a créé un grand nombre de problèmes très visibles pour la production agricole dans la région d’Afrique centrale. La recherche doit être aidée afin de permettre le développement des technologies requises pour répondre au changement climatique. De plus, les actions des parties prenantes doivent être coordonnées et les responsables politiques doivent s’engager à améliorer les stratégies d’adaptation au changement climatique. Pour assurer la diffusion efficace des technologies, les services de vulgarisation doivent être renforcés et faire participer la société civile qui, même si elle est marginalisée dans certains pays, joue un rôle très actif en transférant les résultats aux utilisateurs. La présente analyse démontre que, malgré l’existence de politiques spécifiques, le financement de l’adaptation de l’agriculture au changement climatique occupe encore une position peu prioritaire dans l’agenda politique et économique des pays étudiés.

Ce document est aussi disponible en anglais: Review of Research and Policy for Climate Change Adaptation in the Agriculture Sector in C Africa

Le présent rapport a été réalisé sous les auspices du projet AfricaInteract financé par le Centre de recherche pour le développement international (CRDI).