Author: Deborah Brautigam.
Despite the call for more technical cooperation between developing countries (TCDC) as spearheaded by the United Nations Development Program, the literature contains few examples of actual cases of TCDC. Kpatawee Farm was developed during 1978–1989 by the People's Republic of China as a state-owned rice seed plantation in rural Liberia. The article analyzes this experience of TCDC. It concludes that technical cooperation between developing countries may offer unexpected problems. In this case, operating Kpatawee as a state farm effectively transferred China's own difficulties with state-controlled, overmechanized, and uneconomic production. Privatizing Kpatawee is unlikely to improve its performance. Even China's small-scale irrigation techniques, when considered separately from the rainfed area of the state farm, appear at best only marginally competitive with imports, and offer limited promise as a viable farming system for rural Liberia.