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

China and India’s rising food prices affect world markets

Food has become the main driver of inflation in both countries, with inflation expected to increase further this year in China. Data drawn from China’s CPI index showed that the pickup in September’s CPI was driven by eggs, vegetables, fruit and pork. In total, food prices climbed 18.4 percent from a year earlier, with onions said to be costing four times more than a year ago. Given the size of these two economies, economists suggest this will hamper the global economic recovery. This also raises questions over the direction of Chinese and Indian demand for agricultural products.
(IOL, South Africa)

Zimbabwe to host conference on Africa-China ties

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of African relations with China, Zimbabwe is hosting a three-day symposium in Harare. It is funded by FOCAC and will be convened by Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC). A new institute on Africa-China studies in Southern Africa is due to be established by the centre soon after with the objective of facilitating academic research and exchange as well as supporting the private sector.
(Sunday Mail)

UNAC convenes 2nd meeting on ProSavana

Mozambique’s National Peasants’ Union (UNAC) convened the second international conference on ProSavana in Maputo last week. The Mozambican government did not send any officials to attend on its behalf. UNAC also put together a (Portuguese language) documentary about ProSavana that compares it with the cerrado development project in Brazil that it seeks to emulate.
UNAC Meeting
(Portuguese) / UNAC’s ProSavana video (Portuguese) – via farmlandgrab.org

Farmlandgrab.org also carries interview with Calisto Ribeiro, from the Rural Mutual Support Organisation (ORAM) regarding his views on ProSavana.

Old powers and new powers: agriculture and investment in Africa

Last week, CBAA project convenor Ian Scoones wrote about the conference on ‘Emerging Powers Going Global’ that took place in London on October 8-9. At the conference, Prof Scoones chaired a panel on agriculture, consisting of a mixture of academics, policy makers, and private sector investors.
(Future Agricultures blog)

Do property rights protect the poor?

Following an event for Lorenzo Cotula’s new book, ‘The Great African Land Grab?’, Henry Tugendhat has written a blog piece in which he making a short comparison between Cotula’s book and the work of Hernando de Soto.
(Future Agricultures blog)

China to establish its first RMB clearing house outside Asia

The Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch has published a short working paper looking at the implications of China setting up its first RMB clearing house in Africa. Contenders include Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania. As the RMB would become a common settlement currency, advantages would include strengthened trade relationships and a supplanting of the US dollar as the standard currency in the region.
(Centre for Chinese Studies (pdf))

Transparency accusations against Chinese multinationals including Chery

Anti-corruption pressure group, Transparency International, published a report on multinational companies from emerging markets. In it they accused Chinese multinationals as being particularly opaque, with a special mention of Chery Automobile Co., Ltd. It’s sister company, Chery Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. is China’s largest agricultural machinery producer. The company spokesman, said that it was not contacted for this survey and added that “Chery is not publicly traded, so naturally it is not as transparent as those listed companies.”

New film on land grabs: ‘No Land No Food No Life’:

The film ‘No Land No Food No Life’ explores the calls for an end to global land grabs, and for sustainable peasant and community agriculture. It combines personal stories showing how farmers are dealing with losing their land from these grabs, with footage of organizers and community leaders fighting against land grabs.

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.