Inside a gated white complex set back on a hill in southern Rwanda, a team of Chinese agronomists tends to 22 hectares (54 acres) of rice paddies, trenches of mushrooms, and rows of mulberry plants. Concrete storehouses surround a C-shaped building where they hold workshops on sericulture, soil conservation, and rice farming. In a showroom, a Ping-Pong table is crowded with vacuum-wrapped mushrooms, bags of rice, and dried stalks of wheat that they’ve grown here.
This is the face of one of China’s most prominent aid projects in Africa, “agricultural technology demonstration centers,” or ATDCs, whose mission is to modernize African farming while also giving Chinese companies a foothold in new markets. There are now 23 of these centers across Africa. See more