Food security: Can Africa learn from Brazil?

Brazil has emerged as a good example of ‘how to do it’ when it comes to just about all sectors of agriculture, getting the best out of a few plantations and numerous small-scale producers to make the sector stable and guarantee food security. Brazil’s progress has been underpinned by the state agricultural-research company and pushed forward by genetically modified crops. However, many African countries are reluctant to take on GM foods, insisting that more research needs to be conducted on environmental and human health impact. Read more here.
Khinani Ontebetse

Decline in competitiveness in many sub-Saharan states

As growth in some sub-Saharan countries hits 6% there is still no large-scale African middle class emerging, while China and Brazil reap benefits of resource imports. Declining competitiveness in parts of Africa is beginning to concern economists. Speaking on Summit TV, Frontier Advisory analyst Martyn Davies believes that there is a continuing decline in competitiveness in many sub-Saharan states, and that growth without productivity and competitiveness is not sustainable. Especially, the continent needs to use the comparative advantage it has in agriculture. Read more here.
Business Day

G20 attacked on food crisis plan

The US, Brazil and China have joined forces to water down the G20’s first-ever communiqué on agriculture, defeating proposals to reduce the use of biofuels and export bans, which have contributed to close to record food commodities prices. The two-day meeting (22-23 June) came after France made food security and commodities regulation a centrepiece of its G20 presidency after the 2007-08 food crisis and the more than 36% spike in global food prices over the last year. The G20 ignored many of the recommendations of a report it commissioned by international bodies, including the World Bank, the FAO and the IMF, asking for policy ideas for the meeting on how to deal with rising food prices. Read more here.
Javier Blas

Family farming matters in South-South cooperation

Cooperation between countries of the developing South took a step forward with the recent signing of international agreements in Brazil aimed at stimulating public policies to support small-scale farmers. The delegates from Brazil, China, India and South Africa signed the agreements at the meeting of MERCOSUR (Southern Common Market). The agreements include technology and knowledge transfer, as well as financial aid, to countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast and Rwanda. Read more here.

Clean Energy, Good Governance, and Electricity Regulation

Electricity regulators in the rapidly growing emerging economies of India, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico face similar challenges. Clean energy options are supporting their efforts to secure adequate electricity to power economic development without compromising local and global environmental benefits, but also raising complex tradeoffs.

The Forum on Clean Energy, Good Governance and Electricity Regulation hosted by the World Resources Institute (USA), Idasa (South Africa) and Prayas Energy Group (India) earlier this year created a platform for regulators from these countries to share their insights and experiences designing new programmes to support energy efficiency and renewable energy as a way of meeting societal electricity needs. Their report was released on 20 October 2010. Read the full report and list of participants here.

Africa and Brazil to collaborate on agricultural research

Brasilia: The Africa-Brazil Agricultural Innovation Marketplace — a collaboration initiative between the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the Brazilian Organisation for Agricultural Research (Embrapa) was launched on 10 May at Embrapa´s headquarter in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia. The launch was part of the Brazil-Africa Dialogue on Food Security, Combating Hunger, and Rural Development organised by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations. Read more here.