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THURSDAY 17 March 2022 from 13:00 – 14:00 SAST/CAT

PLAAS invites you to a webinar titled ‘Chinese investments in African agriculture: Insights from Agriculture Technology Demonstration Centres (ATDC).

The speakers include:

The webinar will be chaired by Dr Ashton Murwira from Africa University, Zimbabwe.

Touted as a new model for delivering agriculture aid to Africa, the ATDC is surrounded with much debate as with regards to the possibility of simultaneously delivering aid and achieving commercial goals. There is a dearth of studies on what happens to the peasant farmers who are the supposed beneficiaries of ATDC. We focus on the ground-level realities of ATDC and peasant empowerment. By focusing on the narratives, discourse, and realities surrounding the Chinese-built ATDC, we argue, although there is huge dominance of positive discourse and narratives on the ATDC model, our findings point to the localized and small-scale positive impacts in terms of peasant empowerment. At the same time, our findings refute notions of agro imperialism that have been dominating literature with regards to ATDC model in Zambia. However, the persistence of agro capitalism that is sui generis to the ATDC model is noted.  Although aid programs are sometimes subject to elite capture, our findings point to the contra, with most beneficiaries of the ATDC programs being drawn from under-resourced peasants from various parts of Zambia. Resultantly, a mixed picture emerges, with some peasants diversifying, achieving high incomes, whilst others fail to adopt the technology, and witness stunted yields. The logic of the ATDC being largely driven by China’s own development experience and high-level politics is also brought under the spotlight as it comes into conflict with some aspects of Zambia’s agricultural aspirations and also at times hinders peasant empowerment. The win-win principle that guides China’s foreign aid is also interrogated.  The study points, prospects for peasant empowerment from the ATDC do exist but alongside a reconfiguration of the Zambian state participation in the ATDC operations, greater integration of farmer organization groups into the affairs of the ATDC, and broader enhancement of peasants’ access to other enabling resources. Futures research can be conducted on how the ATDC balances aid and business and what happens when the ATDC’s commercial interests intersect with those of peasants.

This webinar will discuss these questions:

  • How is agriculture aid delivered through the ATDC?
  • What are the dynamics underpinning the ATDC MODEL?
  • How has the ATDC model fared in terms of uplifting local farmers/beneficiaries? 
  • What are the implications of the Model to the delivery of aid and agriculture policy?

Tune in on Thursday 17 March 2022 at:

13:00 South African Standard Time (SAST)/Central African Time (CAT)

12:00 West African Time (WAT)

11:00 Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT) (Ghana)

14:00 East African Time (EAT) (Tanzania)

Registration Link: