18 October: China and Brazil in African agriculture – news roundup

Japanese NGOs call for review of ProSavana

Five Japanese NGOs have called for a suspension of ProSavana and review of the project during a press conference in Tokyo. Their appeal was made following a field visit to Mozambique and involved the following organisations: the Africa Japan Forum, Oxfam Japan, the Japan International Volunteer Center and the Japan Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens.

Nigerian praise for Chinese agricultural model and cooperation

Nigeria’s National Programme for Food Security (NPFS) under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, in conjunction with China and the FAO, convened a high level forum aimed at showcasing the achievements of South-South Cooperation in Nigeria and other participating African nations. In it the Nigerian minister for agriculture praised China’s focus on agriculture as a matter of national security and welcomed the suggestion that China might set up a $30m trust fund to support further South-South Cooperation (presumably in agriculture but the article is not clear).
(Vanguard, via AllAfrica)

Zimbabwe to use Brazilian loan for mechanisation and irrigation

Following on from the announcement of a $98.6m loan from Brazil to Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector, it has been confirmed that this will be used primarily for mechanisation and irrigation projects. The loan is due to be disbursed in three tranches with the first batch of $38.6m set to arrive before the end of 2013.
(The Herald: Loan application / Loan agreement)

Seeds of Discontent

A new documentary film has just been released looking at a “land grabbing” case study in Licole, Mozambique involving a forestry company called Chikweti Forests of Niassa. The film was launched just five days before the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) meets for its 40th round of talks and draws attention to the role of foreign investors, in this case: a Swedish investment firm, Dutch pension fund and Norwegian church endowment.

China-Africa Think Tank Conference

Oct. 21-22. Zhejiang Normal University is coordinating the preparations of the 3rd China-Africa 10+10 think tank meeting in Beijing next week.
(Event website)

OECD-DAC Meeting on Responsible Agribusiness

On Wednesday 16 October the OECD-DAC’s Advisory Group on responsible business conduct along agricultural supply chains held its first meeting in Paris. The advisory group is collaborating with the FAO among other relevant institutions to create a guide of ‘Responsible Business Conduct’ for businesses operating within agricultural value chains.

New Book on Small Scale farming in Mozambique

Joseph Hanlon and Teresa Smart are now working on a new book about the possible leading role in agricultural development of small scale commercial farmers. They have already done fieldwork in Gurue, Manica and Nampula and have written a set of three working papers, which have been posted on their website in English and Portuguese. Comments are invited, to j.hanlon@open.ac.uk, before the end of October. The book will also draw on Mozambican data and reader comments, as well as international thinking.
(Open University)

Subsidy only for the rich

In current World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations, “developing countries grouped under the G33 are asking that their governments be allowed to buy food from their farmers, stock the food and distribute it to poor households, without this being limited by the WTO’s rules on agricultural subsidies.” This move is being opposed by the United States and other developed countries, writes Martin Khor, Executive Director of the South Centre, on SUNS (South-North Development Monitor). In a clearly-written explanation of the WTO subsidy rules, Khor notes that OECD agricultural subsidies in 2011 were $406 billion but that developing countries are not currently allowed similar subsidies. The G33 is asking WTO to allow them to promote food security and rural development in this way, but the US (with one-third of all OECD farm subsidies) is leading the opposition. (Source: Joseph Hanlon’s Mozambique newsletter no. 227, 3 October 2013)
(Third World Network)

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.