Brazil offers to help Africa boost food output

Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:31am GMT

By Diadie Ba

DAKAR (Reuters) - Brazil is ready to provide its experience and technology free of charge to African nations seeking to improve food production and develop biofuels, its minister for development, industry and trade said on Tuesday.

Brazil, a major food producer and the world's leading ethanol exporter, is expanding links with Africa, where initial tests with biofuels have had mixed results and spikes in food prices have accelerated calls for development in agriculture.

"Our country is the most important producer of food in the world and we can help Africa, free of charge, to transfer the technology of food processing," Miguel Jorge, Brazil's minister for development, industry and foreign trade, told Reuters.

Brazil is the world's top sugar, beef and chicken exporter, the second largest shipper of soya and the No. 3 maize exporter.

Jorge, who is leading a Brazilian trade delegation visiting Africa to promote agricultural technologies, said Brazil could help the world's poorest continent boost food production, without giving any further details.

The Brazilian Africultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) said the focus should be on helping African countries add value to the products that they grow.

"West African countries require a lot of technologies for processing cashew nuts, casava and for adding values to the products, and we are ready to help," Claudio Bragantini, EMBRAPA's Africa representative, told Reuters on Tuesday.

Escalating food and fuel prices in recent years have led to social unrest in many African countries, which are now under pressure to increase and improve investments in agriculture.   Continued...

<p>A worker arranges bananas at a market in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, July 30, 2008. REUTERS/Luc Gnago</p>
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