Woyanne Leases Land for Agriculture to Earn Foreign Exchange – By Jason McLure (Bloomberg)

November 10th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopia plans to lease 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres) of land to foreign and domestic investors for agriculture over the next three years to increase productivity and earn foreign exchange, the government said. (more…)

Ethiopia plans to lease 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres) of land to foreign and domestic investors for agriculture over the next three years to increase productivity and earn foreign exchange, the government said.

The state has already leased land for 15 birr (U.S. $1.19) per hectare per year in some parts of the country in an effort to attract foreign investment, said Eyesus Kebede, an agricultural-investment coordinator in the ministry. The government is also attempting to woo investors by offering incentives such as grace periods on payment.

“There is ample amount of land which is not cultivated yet,” Eyesus said in an interview in his office in Addis Ababa, the capital, yesterday. “We are preparing the land and we have given the comprehensive support for the agricultural investors.”

Foreign investment in agriculture in Africa has drawn criticism from aid groups, including Oxfam International, that are concerned about the use of farmland to produce food for export from countries with widespread hunger. In Ethiopia, an estimated 13.7 million people, about one-sixth of the population, are dependent on foreign food aid.

Eyesus said such concerns were outweighed by the plantations’ capacity to bring foreign exchange and technology into the Horn of Africa country, as well as creating employment.

Among foreign investors that have acquired land in western Ethiopia are Karuturi Global Ltd., an Indian food processor, and Saudi-based billionaire Sheikh Mohammed al-Amoudi, Eyesus said.

Regional governments have already transferred 1.7 million hectares of land to Ethiopia’s central government and surveyors are in the process of delineating additional land, he said.

Feather Dresses

Among the land currently being advertised on the ministry’s Web site is 180,625 hectares along the Omo River in southern Ethiopia. South Omo Zone, as it is known, is home to pastoralists from the Hamer, Dasenech and Gnangatom ethnic groups, many of whom still dress in feathers and leather garments and are considered among the world’s most threatened indigenous people, according to Survival International, a London-based group that campaigns on behalf of ethnic groups.

Eyesus said the land in South Omo was “empty” and that the government had taken environmental and social considerations into account when allocating land for investors.

“The people and the local governments are very happy,” he said. “We have not seen any conflict between investors and the community.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jason McLure in Addis Ababa via Johannesburg at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

  1. Eskesta Werajoche
    | #1

    Ethiopians will have to defend their land that was passed to them by big sacrifice of our fathers and mothers. let our gun blazes and stop the confiscation of our land for long term lease to fill the coffer of EFFORT. Let the gun blazes in all corners of Ethiopia and chase foreigners from all corners of Ethiopia. Ethiopian land is only for Ethiopians. Down with land sellers !!

  2. Guest
    | #2

    Is it another way of privatising land. TPLF-EPRDF were so adamant about the privatisation of land resource in the past years. They held also the same stand on other essential services such as telecommunication and electricity. We now that they were just fending off potential buyers for the time being till they accumulate enough capital to purchase it themselves. Everything that has been tagged not-for-sale seems to wait its time and presented for sale when some groups accumulate enough to be the main players of the market. I doubt if foreigners take the lion share of the new land market. I expect there are back-door deals with some of the so called foreign land investors.

  3. Guest
    | #3

    Is it another way of privatising land. TPLF-EPRDF were so adamant about the privatisation of land resource in the past years. They held also the same stand on other essential services such as telecommunication and electricity. We can see now that they were just fending off potential buyers for the time being till they accumulate enough capital to purchase it themselves. Everything that has been tagged not-for-sale seems to wait its time and presented for sale when some groups accumulate enough to be the main players of the market. I doubt if foreigners take the lion share of the new land market. I expect there are back-door deals with some of the so called foreign land investors.

  4. Anonymous
    | #4

    IT IS UNDERSTOOD AT THIS TIME WE ARE NOT LIKE KENYA THE INDIANS ARE THE UPER HAND THAN KENYANEANS IN KENYAN WEDONT WANT TO TOGIVE OUR COUNTRY FOR LONG TERM LESS THAT WE HAVETO FORM A CORPORATION THAT WIIL HELP all ethiopians PLEASE STOP SELLIG OUR COUNTRY

  5. hey
    | #5

    EPRDF IS SELLING OUR FERTILE LAND WHILE PEOPLE ARE STARVING TO DEATH.
    WE ARE AT THE END OF THE ROPE OUR. COUNTRY IS UNDER THE THREAT BY THESE UN ETHIOPIAN DICTATORS, LET US JOING THE ARMS STRUGGLE WITH THE OPPOSITION TO OVERTHROW THIS REGIM BEFORE TO LATE. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO WRITE LONG PARAGRAPHS,TALKING NONSENSE. EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT IS HAPPENING IN ETHIOPIA WHAT IS LACKING THE MOTIVATION TO FIGHT.

  6. asgadhe
    | #6

    the tplf leader looks like one of the gang in america. he looks like a pip. at the same time today Five Soldiers Defect to Eritrea and more news. Watch http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/11177

  7. JIGSA
    | #7

    what is left now is for tigrai liberation front after robing everthing and everything is ethiopia’s poor farmers land.the selling of ethiopian land for foreginers by melesse zenawi and his thugs is imoral and the ethiopian people must stand up and prevent this selling of the country’s land.the tplf leader melesse zenawi regime in ethiopia is a DE-FACTO REGIME THAT HAS NO MANDET FROM THE ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE.ANY AGREEMENT MADE BY MELESSE ZENAWI AND HIS THUGS TO SELL THE ETHIOPPIAN FARMERS LAND IS ILLEGAL AND HAS NO MERIT!!!!!!!!!!!

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