23 April 2013: China and Brazil in African Agriculture – news roundup

Chinese Firms Criticised in Zimbabwean Tobacco Out-Grower Schemes

Chinese firms are said to be rapidly dominating the Zimbabwean tobacco markets and placing increasingly high demands and costs on locally engaged farmers in out-grower schemes. Chinese tobacco firm Tian Ze is one such company that has bemoaned poor quality in last year’s crop and is trying to encourage farmers to invest more in their crops.
(The Standard, Zimbabwe)

EU Agricultural Investments Urged to Keep Up with China and Brazil

The EU Farm Commissioner, Darcian Ciolos, has urged European companies to invest more in African agriculture to keep pace with growing Chinese and Brazilian interests.

Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS) Report

The CCS, based at the University of Stellenbosch, has published a special report on the BRICS in Africa (pdf). Within it there are specific chapters on Brazil-Africa relations and China-Africa relations.

World Bank Takes Africa’s Pulse

The World Bank has released a report on the growth of Sub-Saharan African economies since the financial crisis and their impact on poverty reduction (pdf). There is a strong focus on the role of agriculture in this light and mention of agricultural trade with China and Brazil.

Brazilian Conference on Development Banks

The Brazilian International Relations think tank CEBRI held a conference on 26 March on the role of development banks and their benefits to “developing” and “developed” economies. The conference is available for download from CEBRI’s podcast on iTunes store. The event also marked the launch of their new report entitled ‘Explaining the BNDES: what it is, what it does and how it works’ by Seth Colby

Information (Português) / BNDES paper (English)

Sustainable African Agriculture

Camilla Toulmin writes in the Guardian about a recent report by the Montpellier Panel on African Agriculture, discussing how “sustainable farming” is often used as a means of disguising large scale “land grabs” whereas the concept remains an important opportunity for small holders equally. Such prescriptions make an interesting point of reference from which to view Chinese and Brazilian engagements.

The Morality of China in Africa

May 7: Launch event of a new book of that title edited by Prof. Stephen Chan and including essays by Chinese and African authors.