1 August: China and Brazil in African agriculture – news roundup

Comparing Chinese aid with Western aid

Li Xiaoyun has had an article published in the China Daily’s African edition looking at the differences and complementarities between Chinese and Western aid (attached). On the same page is an article by Zhang Qizuo from Chengdu University looking at the benefits of China’s investments in Africa.
(China Daily)

Brazil’s rising interest in science ties to Africa

Lidia Cabral (Future Agricultures) is quoted in this SciDev.Net article about scientific co-operation in health and agriculture between Brazil and Africa. Both have much to learn from each other, the article suggests.

Brazil develops new ‘superfoods’ to combat nutrient deficiencies that can cause blindness and anaemia

Embrapa has launched a programme in 11 of Brazil’s states developing new ‘superfoods’ to combat nutrient deficiencies that can cause health problems such as blindness and anaemia. Brazil is the only country to be currently working on the biofortification of 8 crops at the same time, and they include: rice, beans, cowpeas (black-eyed peas), cassava, sweet potatoes, corn, squash and wheat. The project is supported by HarvestPlus and AgroSalud, research programmes that are operating in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and results are due to be ready within 10 years.
(The Guardian)

World Bank report on African land rights

The World Bank has just published a report called ‘Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity’ claiming that Africa’s current land rights system has been holding it back from economic growth. In it they show that more than 90% of Africa’s rural land is undocumented, “making it highly vulnerable to land grabbing and expropriation with poor compensation.” The report also makes proposals based on country pilots in Ghana, Ethiopia, Mozambique and others.

Revising regulations and support for Chinese family farms

Following stipulations made for ‘Family Farms’ in China’s no.1 document earlier this year, a number of farms have been found to be abusing its provisions to claim subsidies. Furthermore, family farms are not strictly bound to limits on the size of their farming operations, however they should not employ labour outside of the family unit. As a result, family farms that have access to technology and capital have a much greater advantage over those that do not. The government is now working with Chinese agricultural institutes, including CAU, to address these issues and find a means to provide support where necessary from across relevant state institutions.
(China news
– in Chinese)

Volta region’s agriculture at risk from climate change

A report has just been published, showing the risk of climate change on the Volta region’s water supplies for irrigation and hydro-electricity. The report is authored by specialists at: the International Water Management Institute, Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. The region is home to 24 million people across 6 countries and has a strong dependence on agriculture.

‘The Great Deceleration’

The Economist’s headline article in this week’s edition of their magazine looks at the deceleration of economic growth in the BRIC countries. They claim that the first phase of these emerging economies is coming to close and that we are currently witnessing the beginning of a second phase of growth rates that are half those of the past decade.
(The Economist)