In April 2007, the Mozambican and the Chinese governments through the Provinces of Gaza and Hubei respectively set up an agreement for the establishment of a Chinese ‘friendship’ rice farm at the Lower Limpopo scheme (also known as Xai-Xai irrigation scheme). Among the main objectives of this partnership was agricultural technology transfer from Chinese to Mozambican farmers. In order to benefit from this technology transfer, the Mozambican government asked local farmers to organise themselves within an association, named ARPONE. The association intended to develop agriculture and livestock.
However, it appeared that the main people who created the association and started to work alongside the Chinese company were mostly Frelimo members, the party ruling the country since its independence in 1975. In the same way, some high-up employees of Regadio do Baixo Limpopo (RBL), the public company in charge of the irrigation scheme, joined ARPONE and started to produce rice. It is important to stress that high state officials are usually linked to Frelimo. The main purpose of this paper, which focuses on the example of ARPONE association farmers in Xai-Xai, is to show how the Mozambican political elite – usually linked to Frelimo – are using their positions within the party or the state to take advantage of the Chinese project.
Chichava, S. FAC Working Paper 111. Mozambican elite in a Chinese rice &#8216;friendship&#8217;: an ethnographic study ofthe Xai-Xai irrigation scheme. Future Agricultures Consortium Secretariat at the University of Sussex, Brighton, UK (2015) 10 pp.