Sub-Saharan African countries have forged strong ties with China in order to acquire technologies and expertise that are crucial to accelerate an agrarian revolution, an African expert has said.
Emmanuel Tambi, director of policy and advocacy with the Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa, noted that Sino-Africa cooperation in agriculture has unleashed mutual benefits.
“There are a number of ongoing initiatives between China and Africa to strengthen cooperation in the field of agriculture. China is discussing trade in agriculture products with regional blocs,” Tambi told Xinhua in an interview in Nairobi.
He said the Asian nation’s technical support has improved agriculture productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa.
China, through the FAO, has dispatched 235 experts to Mongolia, Nigeria, Uganda and six other countries to provide technical guidance to improve local agricultural production over the past years, according to a white paper issued by the Information Office of China’s State Council.
China’s assistance has won international applause, with the International Monetary Fund saying that Sino-Africa cooperation has contributed more than 20 percent to Africa’s economic growth.
Tambi noted that African states have increased the volume of export of agricultural commodities thanks to innovative farming techniques acquired from China.
“The Chinese academy of agricultural sciences is cooperating with national research agencies in Africa to strengthen their capacity to undertake research on new farming methods,” said Tambi.
China has forged ties with several West African countries to share expertise on harnessing renewable energy sources for application at farm level.
“China is also cooperating with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa to help promote trade in agricultural commodities between the two regions,” Tambi added.
Chinese funded projects in the agriculture sector have rejuvenated rural economies across Sub-Saharan Africa. Tambi noted these projects have helped realize food security and better incomes for African farmers.
“Productivity at small holder level has improved due to modern technologies acquired from China,” Tambi said.
African states are making more efforts to alleviate hunger and poverty via agricultural transformation as poverty has posed a significant threat on the continent’s economic growth.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that 239 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa were hungry, representing one third of the total population in the region.
Tambi said Chinese funded research projects on agriculture have created employment opportunities for talented African youth, adding that skills transfer is crucial to modernize farming in Sub- Saharan Africa.
Elsewhere, on the outskirts of Congo’s capital of Brazzaville, over 100 direct or indirect jobs were created every year since a Chinese-funded agricultural pilot program went into operation in 2012.
It also helped the local farmers to increase their gains by over 50 percent, and around 7,500 mature plants have been delivered to the qualified local farmers under the assistance of Chinese experts.
Tambi emphasized that Sino-Africa cooperation in agriculture will blossom for the long haul. “This cooperation is mutual and has brighter prospects. The demand for food in Africa will increase due to population growth and the continent can borrow lessons from China to achieve this goal,” Tambi told Xinhua.