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如何让土地的使用给非洲人带来好处

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小编摘要:农业领域里各种方式的投资,是联合国千年发展规划的一个重要组成部分。这一规划包括降低贫困、饥荒、保持生态平衡、开启发展过程中的有效合作。

如何让土地的使用给非洲人带来好处

 Development specialists say agricultural investments can be structured in ways that do not involve buying land – for instance, getting companies to collaborate with small-holder farmers.

Lorenzo Cotula is a senior researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London.

He’s a co-author of several reports for the IIED, the U.N.Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Among them are “Making the Most of Agricultural Investment: A Survey of Business Models that Provide Opportunities for Smallholders” and “Land Grab or Development Opportunity: Agricultural Investment and International Land Deals in Africa.”

Cotula says there’s a widespread perception in government and investor circles that large plantations are needed to modernize agriculture.

But he says there is no evidence to back up these perceptions. Smallholders have often proved dynamic and competitive on world markets, and policy and infrastructure support for smallholders is today more needed than ever.

According to Cotula, where outside investment is necessary to sustain agriculture, there are various models for collaboration between local farmers and investors, depending on the history, culture, and traditions of land ownership of the area.

Contract farming

One popular method is contract farming, which is often used with tree and cash crops and sometimes with fruit and vegetables.

"It has been around a long time," said Cotula, "and usually involves companies providing credit, inputs like seeds and fertilizer and training and then buying produce from farmers at a fixed price when harvest time comes."

The inputs provided by the companies are usually deducted from the final purchase price. The quality and quantity of the produce are agreed upon by the farmers and the companies.

Cotula says contract farming accounts for up to 60% of tea and sugar farming in Kenya and 100% of cotton farming in Mozambique. In Ghana, it’s used by companies like Blue Skies Agro-Processing, which processes fresh fruits like pineapple, mangos and watermelon for the European market.

Benefits and drawbacks

Contract farming has many benefits, enabling farmers to gain access to credit, seeds and technologies. Contract farming may also give smallholders more access to lucrative but remote markets for high-value crops.

But there are also drawbacks to contract farming. Cotula’s research reveals contracts often go to wealthier farmers, while poorer ones work as labor on the contracted farms. The price that companies pay to farmers may be low, and it may be difficult to penalize a company for not honoring purchasing agreements when market conditions change.

Also, growers may become locked into debt when the company deducts payments for inputs from the final purchase prices. Contract farming may also shift land access away from women, who grow subsistence crops, to men, who are more likely to sign contracts for cash crops with agribusinesses.

Joint ventures

Another model that has been used for partnerships between small farmers and investors is joint ventures, such as one in Rwanda between smallholders and the private company, the Nshili Tea Corporation. Another in Mozambique gives local landholders a 60% stake in an eco-tourism lodge in Manica province.

"[Joint ventures] involve local groups acquiring an equity stake in a company that runs agricultural production," explained Cotula.

"Production could be undertaken by farmers on the basis of contract farming arrangements with the joint venture company. Or it could be like in Malaysia, where joint venture schemes usually involve establishing a large plantation with the local community having equity participation and receiving dividends – which however don’t always materialize."

Cotula says an equity stake in the business can give communities a voice in decision making and a steady income in the form of dividends.

On the other hand, he says, dividends may not materialize because of practices by the companies linked to the agribusiness. One, called“transfer pricing,” transfers profits by artificially inflating or deflating prices in transactions with companies linked to the agribusiness joint-venture partner. The practice reduces profits for the joint-venture company and dividends for smallholder partners. As a solution, contracts may require sales to affiliates take place at fair market prices.

Cotula has also studied other business models that involve collaboration with smallholders, including tenant farming and sharecropping.

Smallholder participation

The success of all of them often depends on the strength of local farmers’ organizations. He says it’s helpful if smallholders form cooperatives or unions or have the support of NGOs.

Cotula describes the case of sugar cane farmers in East Africa, where government-run processing plants have been privatized.

"As growers got organized into an association independent of the business," said Cotula, "they got a better deal in business terms…they also acquired greater voice in industry – like the setting of government policy. So, the level of organization, the capacity in the organization that represents the concerns and aspirations of farmers is crucial."

Research on large-scale land acquisitions shows that many contracts favor the investor: some are short and unspecific and do not include important clauses that protect the small farmer. They may also guarantee leases of between 50 and 99 years, leaving local people without land and livelihoods for generations.

Better practice

Better practice features mechanisms to monitor or enforce investor commitments, clarify the distribution of government revenues, specify the number and types of jobs that will be created, and balance exports with local food needs. It also includes promoting greater transparency.

Cotula’s research showed that Liberia is an example of better practice in that the government has made contracts publicly available on the web. Some contracts negotiated by Monrovia featured more specific commitments to jobs and training, local processing and procurement, and social and environmental safeguards.

Inclusive models for agricultural investment are an important part of efforts to reach the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, which include significant reductions in poverty and hunger, environmental sustainability, and the creation of effective partnerships to enhance development.

负责发展项目的一些专家表示,农业方面的投资不见得非得要牵扯到土地的购买。比如说,让公司和当地的小规模土地所有者一起合作。

罗兰左.寇特拉是总部设在伦敦的国际环境和发展研究所的一位高级研究员。

他为国际环境和发展研究所、联合国粮农组织、以及国际农业发展基金等撰写了几份报告,其中一份的题目是:如何让农业领域的投资获得最大收益--企业之间和小规模土地所有者之间合作调查;另外一份报告的题目是:对土地的掠夺或者发展的契机:农业领域的投资与非洲的国际性土地交易。

寇特拉认为,虽然说来自外部的投资对于当地农业的发展是必要的,但是当地的土地所有者和投资商之间,可以有不同的合作方式,具体要看当地的历史、文化、以及土地的所有制传统。

一个比较受欢迎的模式是合同式的,多用在树木、水果蔬菜和商品作物的种植方面。

寇特拉说:“这种模式已经实行了很长时间了,通常要有公司提供信贷、种子、化肥、培训,然后在收获季节从农民那里以固定价格向农民收购。”

在这个过程中,公司的投入从最后的购买价格中扣掉。收获的质量和数量由农民和公司拟定。

合同种植也许多好处。它能够让农民拥有信贷、种子和技术。合同种植也可以使小土地所有者有机会和可能将收成卖到很远的市场上去。

不过,合同种植也有它的缺点。寇特拉的研究显示,合同经常落到比较富有的农民手上,那些比较贫穷的农民被比较富有的农民佣到农场做工。另外,公司付给农民的价格也可能是比较低的,而且一旦市场情况有变、一些公司违约的话,也很难对它们采取惩罚性措施。

另外,公司在购买收成的时候将投资和种子费等扣除,致使一些农民可能总是处于欠债的状态。合同种植的另外一个可能是,妇女可能会逐步失去对土地的使用权,土地的使用权会落到男人手上;因为妇女种植的是供自身食用的作物,而男人更可能和农业公司就商品作物签合同。

在小土地所有者和投资人之间的另外一个合作模式是合资,比如在卢旺达,一些小规模土地所有者和一家茶叶公司之间的合作,就是这样的。

在莫桑比克的一个例子是,当地的土地所有者在一个生态旅游饭店拥有60%的股权。

寇特拉说:“合资能够让当地的团体在那些农业生产公司中拥有一部分股权。农民可以根据合同来种地。或者也可以像在马来西亚那样,合资方式通常都是通过设置一个较大规模的种植园,让当地的社区有股份,而且可以分红。不过,这并不是总能实现。”

寇特拉说,在商业过程中拥有一定的股权可以让当地人在做决定的过程中,说话有一定的份量,同时也可以在分红的过程中,有固定的收入。

寇特拉同时还研究了其他的商业模式,也是有小规模土地所有者参与的合作项目,包括佃农方式和分享一部分收成。

所有这些模式的成功都要看当地农民组织是否强大。他说,假如那些小规模土地所有者能够组成合作社、或者是工会、或者有非政府组织帮忙的话,他们的日子会好过多了。

寇特拉提到东非一些甘蔗种植农的例子。在那里,国营加工厂现在都已经被私有化了。

他说:“随着那些种植农民组成独立于企业的协会,他们在协商的过程中,达成的协议就对他们比较有利。他们同时还在业内有了更大的发言权,比如像在政府制订的相关政策方面。所以说,组织的程度,组织内部人员代表农民利益讲话的能力都很关键。”

针对较大规模的土地的收购的研究显示,很多合同都对投资人更为有利;一些合同涵盖的期限比较短,而且也不具体,也不包括一些重要的保护小农的条款。一些合同还可能保证50到99年之间的租赁,让当地人好几代都不能拥有固定的土地和赖以谋生的土地资源。

更好的模式是对投资人的承诺进行某种监督,明确政府开支的分配,具体说明因此而创造出多少和哪些就业机会,同时还要注意在农作物出口和当地的食品需求之间保持平衡。整个过程中间的透明度也很重要。

寇特拉的调查显示,利比里亚在这方面是一个比较好的范例。利比里亚政府将各种合同都公布到了互联网上。政府谈判达成的合同对就业培训,当地的加工和采购,以及社会环境保护都有更具体的承诺。

农业领域里各种方式的投资,是联合国千年发展规划的一个重要组成部分。这一规划包括降低贫困、饥荒、保持生态平衡、开启发展过程中的有效合作。

标签:voa standard
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2011-12-10 10:27 编辑:pliny
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