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[Dehai-WN] Bloomberg.com: Ethiopia Makes 4 Million Hectares of Land Available to Investors

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Sun, 13 May 2012 22:55:40 +0200

Ethiopia Makes 4 Million Hectares of Land Available to Investors

By William Davison - May 11, 2012 3:37 PM GMT+0200

 <http://topics.bloomberg.com/ethiopia/> Ethiopia has made more than 4
million hectares (9.9 million acres) of "fertile and unutilized" land
available for agriculture companies that meet government requirements, Prime
Minister Meles Zenawi said.

About 300,000 hectares has been leased for commercial farming so far, he
said at an Ethiopian investment forum today in the capital, Addis Ababa.

"There has been a significant flow into large-scale state- type commercial
farming in our country and we seek even more in the future," he said

Investors in Ethiopian land include Bangalore-based
<http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/KARG:IN> Karuturi Global Ltd. (KARG), the
world's largest rose grower, which is developing 100,000 hectares in
Ethiopia's southwestern Gambella region. The farm will have its first
harvest in October, Managing Director Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi told the
forum today.

Horizon Plantations Ethiopia, which is majority owned by Saudi billionaire
Mohamed al-Amoudi, leased a 20,000-hectare plot in the western
Benishangul-Gumuz region in March to grow groundnuts to produce cooking oil.

New land will only be allocated to applicants who submit "proper" business
and land-use plans, manage the environment and provide jobs for local
citizens, Meles said.

Inadequate applications are "perhaps one of the reasons we've not succeeded
in allocating more than 10 percent of land that has been allocated for
investment," he said. The government has repossessed land from inactive
operators, Meles said.

Meles denied accusations by advocacy groups including the California-based
<http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/> Oakland Institute that communities in
western Ethiopia are being forcibly evicted to make way for investors. "The
bulk of resettlement is happening on the opposite end of where the private
sector investment in agriculture is happening," he said.


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