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November 04, 2011

What Indian farm investors can't do at home, they do in Ethiopia

by Keffyalew Gebremedhin

The question of land grab in Ethiopia and indeed in other developing countries would remain a topic of national and international conversations. The Ethiopian government is fully aware of this and has been fighting to influence its direction, although unsuccessfully to date.

What it is doing is to deny traction to the criticisms against its policy of doling out Ethiopian lands to foreign investors. What it should have done, which is right and proper is to begin to see reason by all sides in their proper light, especially the concerns of Ethiopian citizens. It has miserably failed to engage and convince citizens about the present and long-term implications of farmland grabbing.

To date, we know that 3.6 million hectares have been put on offer in exchange for chicken feed to international investors. Seventy percent of foreign investors in agricultural lands in Ethiopia today are Indians, some of them such as Karuturi, who have shifted gears to tendering Ethiopian lands piece by piece to Indians, specifically from the southern part of that country.

The indication is that this would give rise to serious indignation by citizens at home and abroad. What drives the government into this straightjacket is the hunger for power, not the national interests of Ethiopia. This has been ably dealt with by Ethiopia's foremost economists and specialist in land tenure.

 complete article...Addis Voice

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