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October 02, 2012

Plans mooted for China to support Tanzanian cotton farmers

A cash crop with a guaranteed market and various kinds of in-season support from the buyer is the dream of many small scale farmers.

China’s ambassador to Tanzania has proposed just such a link between his home country’s cotton buyers and his host country’s cotton farmers.

This model of cooperation between Chinese agro-buyers and African farmers is in place in other countries and other agricultural sectors.

The buyers identify groups of farmers of their crop of interest. Those farmers are assisted with various inputs whose price is then deducted from the agreed price for their crop at market time.

It is a system that is far from perfect and with many possible problems, but it also has the potential to be a win-win arrangement. The willingness of Chinese companies, often backed by their government in one form or another, to do this for raw materials the country needs has given it a wedge into market sectors that were previously dominated by western buyers, who are generally much less willing to be involved in the production chain.


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