China, Africa to Strengthen Agriculture Cooperation

Taylor Scott International News

2013-08-29 12:09:54 Xinhua   Web Editor: Liu Ranran China and Africa see broad prospects for future agricultural cooperation and the two sides will work to establish a mechanism to advance cooperation in the sector, said an official white paper released Thursday. “The Chinese government attaches great importance to its mutually beneficial agricultural cooperation with Africa, and works hard to help African countries turn resource advantages into developmental ones,” says the paper on Sino-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation published by the Information Office of the State Council. In recent years, Sino-African trade in agricultural products has grown quickly. From 2009 to 2012, China’s agricultural exports to Africa grew from 1.58 billion U.S. dollars to 2.49 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 57.6 percent. During the same period, China’s agricultural imports from Africa, mainly non-food items such as cotton, hemp, silk and oilseeds, saw a 146-percent surge. The paper attributes the robust growth partly to China’s zero-tariff policy adopted in 2005 for some African products, as well as Chinese enterprises’ growing investments in Africa. From 2009 to 2012, China’s direct investment in African agriculture grew from 30 million U.S. dollars to 82.47 million U.S. dollars, an increase of 175 percent. Those investment has increased grain supplies in the countries concerned and enhanced the comprehensive agricultural productivity of those countries, the paper says, citing Mozambique as an example, where 300 hectares of experimental paddy fields supported by Chinese investment yielded 9 tonnes to 10 tonnes per hectare for three successive years. The paper says the Chinese government has tried to enhance Africa’s self-reliance capacity to develop its agriculture by setting up technology demonstration centers, and sending experts to share experience in agricultural production. Since 2006, China has helped set up 15 agricultural demonstration centers in Rwanda, the Republic of Congo, Mozambique and some other countries, and is planning to establish another seven. “In the future, China will advance agricultural cooperation with Africa in all respects while ensuring that this cooperation puts both parties on an equal footing, is mutually beneficial, and advances common development,” the paper says. It will work to establish and improve a mechanism for bilateral agricultural cooperation, and strengthen Sino-African cooperation in the sharing of agricultural technologies, resource varieties and agricultural information, the processing and trade of agricultural products, agricultural infrastructure construction, and human resource training, says the white paper. China will also work to deepen Sino-African cooperation within the frameworks of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, according to the paper. Taylor Scott International

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