UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

China and Brazil in African agriculture

Title details

SN: 851959
Title: China and Brazil in African agriculture
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-851959
Depositor: Ian Scoones, University of Sussex
Principal investigator(s): Ian Scoones, University of Sussex
Sponsor(s): ESRC
Grant number: ES/J013420/1


The citation for this study is:

Ian Scoones, University of Sussex. (2017). China and Brazil in African agriculture. Data catalogue. UK Data Service. SN: 851959,

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Subject Categories

Society and culture


Abstract copyright data collection owner.

These data are collected from studies looking at Chinese training courses for African officials, Chinese trade in agricultural commodities with Africa, and registered Chinese investments in Africa. These formed an important contextualisation of our research in the four case study countries which we then built upon in our fieldwork. Those final analyses and interpretations of the data are also included as data here in the form of working papers. Based on qualitative research methods, they present the reality on the ground which can often be quite different to the image presented by the raw figures, often published by government departments.

The “China and Brazil in African Agriculture” (CBAA) project will explore the new development cooperation engagements in agriculture across four African countries. The project will examine the politics of aid and investment policy in China and Brazil, exploring how understandings of agricultural development are translated in aid and investment projects. The project will be carried out through an innovative international partnership connecting researchers from institutions in the UK and Africa, already linked through the IDS-led Future Agricultures Consortium, with colleagues from China and Brazil. The research will begin with a mapping phase that will generate a geo-referenced database of Chinese and Brazilian agricultural development cooperation projects in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. This will be followed by in-depth case studies of a sample of these projects, examining the ways in which experience and expertise from China and Brazil engage with the realities of African agriculture and the perspectives of African scientists and farmers. Comparative analysis across projects, countries and types of intervention will address the question of whether a new paradigm of development cooperation is emerging, and assess the implications for the future of aid and investment policy.

Coverage, universe, methodology

Dates of fieldwork: 01 October 2012 - 01 January 2016
Country: United Kingdom | Ethiopia | China | Brazil | Ghana | Mozambique | Zimbabwe
Geography: Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, UK, Zimbabwe
Spatial units: No spatial unit
Observation units: Groups
Kind of data: Numeric
Method of data collection: Data on trade were collected and aggregated from the United Nations Commission for Trade and Development website. More specifically this looked at Trade matrices by product groups in exports and imports in thousands of USD between the years 1995 and 2012. This aimed to understand which agricultural commodities were most important for our four case study countries both in terms of their exports to China and Brazil, but also in terms of imports. Data on Chinese investments in Ethiopia and Africa more generally were collected from investment agencies and Chinese state institutions. Data on Chinese training courses were sourced from the official website of the Academy for International Business Officials – a training centre that is managed by the Chinese government’s Ministry of Commerce. All of these datasets were then complemented by participant observations and semi-structured interviews with key groups and individuals. These were conducted during fieldwork over several months by our research team of roughly 25 people, spread out across the four African case study countries, as well as China and Brazil. In each case, one or more of our research partners was from the country in question and was therefore able to facilitate much better access and communicative exchanges. The aim of these qualitative research methods was not only to corroborate what we had found in the quantitative data mentioned above, but also to better understand the nature of engagements between African actors with their Brazilian or Chinese counterparts. These micro-level understandings were key to interpreting the wider political-economic trends that the data highlighted.

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Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 27 January 2017
Latest edition: 14 July 2017 (minor amendments only)
Copyright: Ian Scoones, University of Sussex
Access conditions: The Data Collection is available to any user without the requirement for registration for download/access.
Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Ian Scoones, University of Sussex


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