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China, Africa forge farming ties
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2010-08-12 07:55

China's agricultural cooperation with Africa requires more strategy than passion, an executive from a leading Chinese agribusiness company has said, as the country plans to strengthen the China-Africa new strategic partnership with more focus on agricultural links.

"The fragile political situation is still the biggest challenge for Chinese companies to invest in Africa," Xu Jun, deputy general manager of China State Farms Agribusiness Corporation (CSFAC), told China Daily on Tuesday.

Last year, a cooperative program worth more than 70 million yuan ($10 million) between the CSFAC and Ghana's ruling party came to an abrupt halt when the opposition party took office, he said.

"Now we prefer to talk with government administrations instead of party leaders when it comes to further cooperation," Xu said.

The CSFAC is one of the country's leading agriculture resources development companies. It started its first farm in Africa in 1994 and now operates seven farming projects across Africa, with more than 8,600 hectares of land.

At a two-day China-Africa agriculture forum, which kicked off in Beijing on Wednesday, more companies like the CSFAC were encouraged to expand their businesses to Africa.

Vice-President Xi Jinping said at the forum that agricultural cooperation is an important part of Sino-African cooperation, pledging to enhance the China-Africa new strategic partnership with closer agricultural links.

Zimbabwean Vice-President Joyce Mujuru said that agriculture is an important industry for most African countries, and hoped she could help push forward agricultural cooperation between China and Africa.

Xu said joint-venture farms that have China's financial and technical support are the future of China-Africa agriculture cooperation.

"Agricultural investment requires more patience and long-term view than other industries," he said.

Guo Jianjun, a senior researcher with the Development and Research Center of the State Council, said China and Africa are complementary in a wide range of aspects.

He said that from 2000, the China-Africa trade volume of agricultural products has been on a fast track, with an annual increase of 20 percent, surging from $647 million to $2.8 billion in 2009.

Jointly organized by the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Ministry of Agriculture, the forum focuses on new opportunities and challenges for China-Africa agricultural cooperation.

About 400 representatives from political parties, government departments and enterprises from China and Africa are attending the forum, which is expected to reach a Beijing Declaration on Thursday.

Source:China Daily 
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