Short of Food? Rent Half a Country – Ethiopia Put up for Sale by Zenawi – By Graham Bowley

November 19th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

Zenawi has said it, too, is “very eager” to lease hundreds of thousands of acres of its farmland to rich Middle Eastern countries, according to the FT report. (more…)

Zenawi has said it, too, is “very eager” to lease hundreds of thousands of acres of its farmland to rich Middle Eastern countries, according to the FT report.

Today, further signs of how the world may be reshaped as population pressures grow and global warming intensifies.

A South Korean company has leased 3.2 million acres of farmland from the government of Madagascar for 99 years. That’s an area about half the size of Belgium — and it represents nearly half of all the arable land in the country, according to a report in the Financial Times. The company, Daewoo Logistics, plans to grow maize and oil palms, with the produce to be shipped back to South Korea, according to the report.

This news comes just a week after the the president-elect of the Maldives, a nation of 1,200 low-lying islands in the Indian Ocean, said he was planning to use some of the country’s tourism revenue to buy an alternative homeland for its 37,000 citizens, in case rising sea levels inundate the country. (Not so far-fetched: the highest point in the Maldives is just 7.5 feet above sea level now.) The practical president-elect, Mohamed Nasheed, mentioned Sri Lanka and India as possible spots for a refuge, should the deluge ever arrive.

Both developments hint at the possible large-scale global upheaval that could ensue as temperatures rise, sea levels rise with them and burgeoning populations put new pressure on existing world food supplies.

Earlier this year, The New York Times chronicled the chaos caused by skyrocketing commodity prices around the world, with droughts in big agricultural nations like Australia and violent protests over crimped supplies of foodstuffs like rice in countries from Cameroon to Egypt, the Philippines, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Yemen. As worries over food security intensified, India, Vietnam, China and others limited or banned rice exports in order to keep the valuable staple within their own borders.

Since then, the looming global economic recession has brought commodity prices back down somewhat — especially crude oil — but there are still long-term worries about food and commodity security in an uncertain world.

The Daewoo solution would seem to be a clever approach to the problem, potentially meeting the needs of both South Korea, which is chronically short of farmland, and Madagascar, which is chronically short of money. And it may become a model: Ethiopia’s government has said it, too, is “very eager” to lease hundreds of thousands of acres of its farmland to rich Middle Eastern countries, according to the FT report.

But the report also says that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has warned that such arrangements risk creating a “neo-colonial system.” What would happen, for example, if the Madagascan subsistence farmers’ own crops were to fail while shiploads of maize were still being sent to South Korea?

  1. kibret
    | #1

    Ethiopia is better than any time before. Dont fool yourself!!

  2. Assefa
    | #2

    That is what is expected when Woyane chased Ethiopians by ethnic cleansing and harassment to prepare her for sell for foreign entity. No wonder he insist land will not be privatized because “the peasant farmers will be driven out by Ethiopian investors”. He did not say he will drive them out by selling it for foreign investor.

    As one woyane insider told me, “If you want to do something in Ethiopia, it has to be something that brings in dollar. The only thing Woyane is interested is hard currency and will do any thing for it.

  3. GET_BOY
    | #3

    as long as the talkative diaspora amara R not in Ethiopia I’M sure Ethiopia will move forward to devolopement. O thanks GOD this talkative diaspora R not in our country Ethiopia. you know they have no money nor enough education nathing. they are just good for nathing.the only thing they know is emiye Ethiopia. like animal they don’t know haw to help their ppl. by the way how can they help when they are in deep shit them slves. I wish this bloody talkative will be in hell soon. b/s magority of them R morthan 65 years old. and I know they will be soon in HELL and buren their. PEACE AND LOVE TO ETHIOPIA. GOD BLESS OUR GOVERNEMENT EPRDF. DEATH TO HOPLESESS AND THEIR ARROGANT SUPPORTERS. VIVA MELLES ZENAWI.

  4. g.m
    | #4


  5. | #5

    Hey GET_BOY I think you are one of saucer our mother land on be half of your master woyane do you know how to wright read your comment how you miss spell. you try to insult diaspora you run out of gas prepare your self to learn from east Africa like Kenya and Zimbabwe how people fight for there freedom it’s like that sooner or later in our country.GOD BLESS OUR country death for woyane like you.

  6. Tesfaye
    | #6

    ….nor enough education nathing…..

    Shame!!!! Don’t you know that there is an elementary school that does English lesson here!!

  7. Tazabi
    | #7

    You are insulting others but you Mr. educated and know it all, don’t even know how to spell your wordings. You are such a moron. Try to educate your self first so that you will make your sense.

  8. atuba dolla
    | #8

    The madness of Meles Naziawi against the existence of millions of farmers and the rest of the citizens is getting worse and wors;now foreigners are soon to become the sole landlords and farmlords in Ethiopia.

    The tplfeprdfwoyane invaders arrived in Ethiopia broke and infected,they had no money but a lot of guns and bullets to murder Ethiopians,they are not scients or investors,they are robbers,murderers, and looters.They are now wickdly evil doing devlish crime against the lands and the people.

    Gang members of Tplfwoyane began their wicked plan of action while they were in Nakfa cave.In their mind’s eye,Ethiopia is non-existence;all the writing and the tell is against Ethiopia.

    Today, gang members of the criminal organization TPLFEPRDFWOYANE are reach and wealthy.In just 19 years members of the crimefamily became wealthy and millionaires. According to their diary and book,the evil project will run for the next 50 years and no exit before mission accomplished.

    Who owns Ethiopia?

    What do Pirates,Eprdfwoyanetplf,pimps,Arab clients,and guns and bullets have in common? They all attack Ethiopia.

    Leasing is selling.respect is the basic civilization.It is a crime to lease farmers and their land to foreigners.

  9. Emebet
    | #9

    I really admire your love and concerns to our land Ethiopia, though whether your view is right or wrong is another issue. I would like to comment on some very basic typical Ethiopian (who thinks Ethiopia belongs to only one particular group) attitude towards our neighbors namely, Arabs. I say this because; to me your concern is not on the deal but on the party – Arab. Let me tell you this, it is an era of globalisation, we can not talk of any kind of isolation or island or anything like that. We have to take advantage of our proximity to these lucky neighbors of us. We should try to integrate economically to our neighbors. That is how I think our country can develop.

  10. amanu
    | #10

    If some one who is amahra or ormo asks woyanes to invest the same amount of money like the arabs woyane would say no. Look at who he is hiring to teach ethiopians sociology, history, psychology I mean forget sciences Nigerians , Indians, and egyptians. How can some one with a right mind pass his own citizen and bring forigners to teach about its own country. The senseless and devlish act of woyanes has no limit.

  11. Reppi
    | #11


    It is People like you who are filled with inferiority complex,who are selling themselves to ymanem Areb ena nech.

  12. 360mta
    | #12

    Ah I sick of the ignorance that runs through this mindless chattering. The fact is Ethiopia needs money, and food. The problem is the government is to narrow minded to seek out ideas to make money for the long haul. I myself have Ethiopian and Eritrea blood flowing through my veins so I don’t much care for the blood feuds that engulf Ethiopia. Personally I think it is this mindless feuds that hold Ethiopia back. I think that Ethiopia is perfect place to build solar companies like FSLR,First Solar based in America, and very good prospect for mining ore. I have closely observed and studied Ethiopia’s wide range of geography and have declared , in my opinion, a land that if allowed can be a leader in Africa and maybe in the world. The land very ripen for geothermal, wind and solar energy plants. It also can have a very good industrial agricultural system, because of it’s large plains and cheap construction supply allows for buildings like algae farms and other bioengineering companies and ventures. I’m personally at the moment not able to invest in Ethiopia but will in a couple of years and I plan building some these companies I mentioned. I hope that Ethiopia doesn’t sell it’s precious land because that would be giving up it’s independence and it will harm it more than it could help. There no boundaries in Ethiopia’s step into the modern age but it’s reluctant and decrepit government. It’s tribal feuds can and will stop it’s progress if Ethiopia doesn’t address these problems. I love Ethiopia and Eritrea and will hopefully invest in both countries pretty soon.
    Until that God bless Ethiopia and it’s people.

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