February 15th, 2017
Chinese agriculture in Africa: Perspectives of Chinese agronomists on agricultural aid
Published by IIED, January 1st, 2017
This paper (PDF) by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) presents the reflections of more than 160 Chinese agronomists who have spent time implementing Chinese agricultural technologies in Africa. Chinese actors are increasingly engaging in African agriculture. Despite China’s innovative approaches to aid and assertions of comparative advantage in agriculture technologies, experience shows that technologies that have worked well in China may not offer the same benefits when transferred to Africa. The local contexts in African countries provide a continuous challenge to even simple technology-transfer models; often, the effectiveness of aid depends on the resourcefulness of aid experts and staff on the ground. Although Chinese agricultural aid in Africa dates back to the 1950s, there has never been an attempt to systematically gather the perspectives of practitioners implementing these projects on the ground. This research, conducted by the newly constituted research division of the Foreign Economic Cooperation Centre (FECC) of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, can be seen as a first step to gain insight into their experiences. Out of the research comes a need for innovation and adaptation of Chinese technologies is reflected strongly in the research, and there are examples of achieving this in the field; but assessing adaptation potential is not yet integrated systematically into project design.