It’s counterintuitive to a lot of people, but Chinese and African agriculture has a lot more in common with one another than many first expect. For the most part, both are dominated by small family farms that have to battle mightily with the twin effects of climate change and industrialization.
On the climate change front, drought haunts many parts of both China and Africa as deserts expand and rainfall becomes increasingly intermittent in some areas. Similarly, both China and Africa do not produce enough food to feed themselves and therefore depend on imported food to survive, so the stakes for agriculture in both regions are extremely high.
And, in terms of industrialization, in Africa, just as it is in China, the lure of jobs in the cities pulls more and more young people off the land in search of a better life.
Given that China has gone through many of the same challenges that African farmers encounter today, there’s a huge opportunity for the Chinese to leverage that experience in its aid and development programs.
To get some perspective on Chinese agricultural engagement in Africa, Eric & Cobus are joined by Xingqing Lu, an Associate Program Manager from the independent non-profit organization Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.
- The Conversation: Chinese engagement in African agriculture is not what it seems by Ian Scoones
- The China-Africa Research Initiative: Chinese Agricultural Investments in Africa
- The Financial Times: Can China’s agricultural transformation offer lessons for Africa? by Rakesh Kapur
Xinqing Lu works on China-Africa Agricultural Cooperation program at Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). AGRA was formed in 2006 in response to a call from former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who said the time had come for African farmers to wage a “uniquely African Green Revolution.” AGRA is an African-led and Africa-based institution that puts smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. Under the leadership of AGRA’s Board and its Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA), AGRA launched its China-Africa Agricultural Cooperation Strategy in 2017. The goal is to work with partners in China and Africa to help leverage China’s public and private resources (funding, product, and technology, knowledge) to catalyze, scale and sustain inclusive agriculture transformation in Africa.