Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Brics summit in South Africa and support to agriculture

26 - 27 March 2013Guardian Professional. The Brics summit in South Africa  in Durban is the fifth time that the unlikely club of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have met to discuss international development – completing the first cycle of these meetings. The agenda under the banner 'Brics and Africa – Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation', includes the creation of a Brics Development Bank, the international monetary and financial system, opportunities for business and scientific collaboration, and south-south cooperation, particularly in Africa.

The questions of how Africa can feed itself, and how the agricultural sector can be a more effective engine for growth and development, have long been a target of international development efforts from western donors, and regained momentum following the 2007/08 food price crisis. But the emergence of the Brics as major players has raised hopes that innovative agricultural models and experiments from Brazil or China can be transferred or adapted to African countries. New development practices, as well as new partnerships, are on the scene.

(...) How is Brazil interacting with African agriculture? So far, primarily through the transfer of research and technology, weighted towards a particular model of development focused on high-value export crops – such as cotton in Sudan and soya in Mozambique – and linked to global value chains. Meanwhile, Brazilian large farmers and agro-industrial corporations have been flirting with the prospect of accessingcheap land in the African savannahs for agribusiness development. A private fund has already been established to attract capital from Brazil and Japan for large-scale investments in soya and other cash crops in the Nacala corridor in northern Mozambique, a region with similar geographical features to the Brazilian Cerrado.

(...)  As the Brazilian academic Arilson Favareto remarked at a recent conference on politics and African agricultural development, Brazil's family farming sector includes not only modernised and state-supported small farmers, but also poorer farmers who remain at the margins of Brazil's current public policy framework. Which of these categories would be the most relevant benchmark for Africa's average smallholder and severely resource constrained farmer?

Contextualising the 5th BRICS Summit in Durban - Part 1 + 2
BRICS Summit: How India and Brazil can help Africa to get ahead in agriculture

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