Friday, November 25, 2011

Food security: China and Africa

Standard Bank of South Africa released an excellent report on 18 November, 2011, titled “China’s Food Security Challenge: What Role for Africa?

Written by Simon Freemantle and Jeremy Stevens, it reviews China’s growing food security needs, emphasizing that most agricultural imports now come from Asia and the Western Hemisphere. In 2010, for example, the Americas accounted for 99 percent of all soybean exports to China. In 2009, the only agricultural imports from Africa that exceeded 10 percent of China’s total imports were wood, tobacco, oil seeds, and cocoa.

Looking to the future, however, China is expanding its agricultural cooperation with Africa. In 2009, China was conducting about 200 agricultural and 23 fishery projects in Africa.

Although China considered in 2008 a policy of acquiring significant amounts of land in Africa, it has backed away from that idea following criticism that it was seeking to grab African lands. Consequently, China is playing a minimal role today in efforts to lease land in Africa. On the other hand, China is seeking to expand collaboration with African countries in the production of cotton, soybeans, coffee, tea, rubber, wine, sisal, and tobacco.

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