11 June: China and Brazil in African agriculture – news roundup

China welcomes Japanese aid commitment

Following the $32billion aid commitment made by Japan to Africa, the Chinese government has sought to downplay the idea of competition between the two nations. An official spokesperson welcomed the initiative adding that China will improve its cooperation with Africa to encourage the international community to pay more attention to the continent.

Brazil-Africa-LAC Agricultural Innovation Marketplace programme

The Agricultural Innovation MKTPlace has just released a draft programme for its forum in Brasilia this year looking. It will be held from August 6-8 and focus on experience sharing.
(MKTPlace – pdf download)

‘Chinese FDI Stock in Africa Trivial’

Opinion piece on South Africa’s Standard Bank explaining how Chinese FDI amounts are trivial compared with trade and migration flows and should not be used as a reflection of commercial ties. Analysts suggest that part of the misleading attention China’s FDI has received, is because its FDI stock in Africa is often conflated with the estimated $35 billion in concessional loans from China Development Bank and China Exim Bank.
(Southern Times)

Indian Agricultural Training Course for African Farmers

USAID has facilitated an agricultural training programme that has seen three African farmers go to Punjab in India for courses at Zamindara Farm Solutions. The director of the institute hopes this will open new business opportunities for Indian agricultural businesses in Africa, between China and Europe.
(Punjab News Line)

Shuanghui takeover of Smithfield Foods

There have been many articles in the past week about the Chinese Agribusiness, Shuanghui, purchasing the US company Smithfield Foods and below are just two from the Financial Times in Chinese and English. It is reportedly the largest ever Chinese takeover of a US company and has been met with a great deal of suspicion.
(Financial Times – English / Financial Times – Chinese)

Brazilian lessons for African Agriculture

The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment has drawn on Brazil’s agricultural developments since the 1980s as a viable model for agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. They highlight its sustained attraction of investments into agriculture and agricultural research; better informed farming practices; utilisation of genetically modified crops; balanced large scale and small-scale farming developments, etc.
(Stanford Woods Institute website)

Joseph Stiglitz on East Asian lessons for Africa

In this blog post, Prof Stiglitz suggests Africa would do better to learn from East Asian countries than the West, and expresses the hope that Japan’s renewed commitment will involve opportunities for knowledge transfer. Agriculture and industrialisation are highlighted as the most important focus points throughout the piece.

Ghanaian authorities crack down on illegal gold mining

Ghana has launched its strongest crackdown yet on illegal, small-scale gold mining operations in the South of the country, mainly conducted by Chinese migrants. Images of physical violence against the miners last week were published on Chinese social media websites and have caused consternation in China. 169 miners were arrested under the charge of environmental degradation from their activities, but have subsequently been released.
(Financial Times – in English / ChinaNews.com – in Chinese)