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本期观察:必须农业为先

必须农业为先

文 I 本刊总顾问  赵昌会

农业是国民经济的命脉。这个道理,对广大非洲国家来说,既浅显,又紧迫,可以说是头等大事。

民以食为天。从根本上讲,农业就是搞饭吃,农业就是命根子。只有解决了吃饭问题,才可谈到其他,才能兴旺百业,才会有正常的个人生活、社会稳定和国家发展。吃饭和农业息息相关。没有可观的农业,无法吃饱肚子;没有成功的农业,无法发展经济;没有发达的农业,无法实现富强。
农业不光是解决吃饭问题的基础,也是解决就业问题的基础。当然,农业不仅仅局限于种庄稼,但粮食生产至关重要。何况在多数国家、多数情况下,农业作为第一大部门,因为天然的劳动密集特点,往往成为吸纳就业的最大雇主和最大保障。
偌大的非洲,不缺土地,不缺农业资源,更不缺劳动力。

必须面对的现实是,非洲国家的农业仍然较为原始,主要是手工劳作,小地块耕种,相当常见的还在沿袭刀耕火种方式。农机、水利、灌溉、田间管理、科学种植、良种育种、规模经营,这些现代农业的基本知识和技术,非洲大陆远未普及,似乎也遥不可及。

但有了中国就不一样了。中华民族是世界上农耕文明最悠久、最广泛、最发达、最有创造性的,时至今日,它大体上以占世界7%不到的耕地养活着占世界20%的人口。中国力量进入非洲农业,中非开展农业合作,进行大规模的商业性农业开发,这将成为惠民济世的一股清流;这股清流一路向前,将激活非洲国家的无穷潜力,使非洲农业实现历史性的崛起,迅速改变非洲面貌。

正像本期主题文章展示的那样,中国企业在坦桑尼亚、赞比亚、莫桑比克和尼日利亚已经初试锋芒,小有作为。这些企业,在中国都是现代农业的标兵,对于开拓非洲农业市场,它们信心坚定,目标突出,初见成效,但创业之路,充满艰辛。

就在本刊发表这篇社评之际,非洲多个国家正面临严重的粮食短缺,其中,索马里、南苏丹、肯尼亚、埃塞俄比亚4国部分地区,局面尤其令人心焦如焚——根据报道,那里有90万儿童挣扎在随时饿死的边缘。

可见,中非农业合作,实为一项互利多赢的朝阳产业,但首先是一项自力更生与国际力量共同要求的国际人道主义合作。非洲各国和地区性一体化组织,必须勇于承担责任,敢于打破陈规,乐于改进投资环境。

农业是非洲一切变革的摇篮。中非政府和企业一道,用实际行动让约翰内斯堡峰会精神普照非洲,造福人民!


Agriculture, the top priority

By Zhao Changhui,Contributing Advisor

Agriculture constitutes the lifeline of many economies. To most African countries, the reason is just obvious, pressing and paramount.

Food is basic to life. Agriculture is viscerally for food, thus the lifeblood. Only when food is out of question can other undertakings be engaged, other businesses be forged ahead, and a normal life and social stability and national development be obtained. Food and agriculture are thereby closely interrelated. There would be no way to fill the stomach without a sizeable agriculture. Likewise, to develop the economy, you need a successful agriculture, and to achieve affluence a sophisticated agriculture must be in place.

Agriculture can go even further that it not only provides the basis for food but also a platform for employment. Nonetheless, agriculture by no means points merely to crops cultivation, although food production remains extremely essential. In most countries and under most circumstances, agriculture tends to be the largest sector, making it the largest absorber of employment and the strongest network of insurance.

Africa is richly endowed with vast stretches of arable land, agricultural resources and not to mention the inexhaustible supply of labor. Harsh realities linger as agriculture continues to be subsistence crops, primitive in the way of farming by the slash and burn method, characteristically in tiny plots through pure manual labor.

Agricultural machines, water conservancy, irrigation systems, field management, scientific planting, seeds selection and breeding, cultivation in scale, and so on and so forth, seem far from popular and reachable in terms of the modern agricultural knowledge and technology.

Hereby comes China, and the whole picture will be different. The Chinese nation boasts the scene of agricultural civilization with the longest history, the widest in cultivation, the most developed in management and the most creative in technology.

Chinese agricultural companies operating in Africa, as shown in the theme articles, are showing great yields in Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique and Nigeria. However, the imminent hunger in Somali, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kenya, the 900,000 children on the verge of starvation in particular as it is reported, has prompted African governments to put agriculture a top priority.

The meaningful African change of cradle lies in agriculture. Let the governments and enterprises make the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit shine throughout Africa by our concerted efforts.