Saudis get first taste of ethiopian harvest – By Javier Blas in London ( FT )

March 6th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Saudi Arabia has announced the arrival of the first food crop harvested in Saudi-owned farms abroad, in a sign that the kingdom is moving faster than expected to outsource agricultural production. (more…)

Saudi Arabia has announced the arrival of the first food crop harvested in Saudi-owned farms abroad, in a sign that the kingdom is moving faster than expected to outsource agricultural production.

Rice, harvested in famine-hit Ethiopia by a group of Saudi investors, was presented to King Abdullah recently and comes as other countries are still in the early stages of investing in overseas farms.

The Ethiopian origin is likely to raise concerns about the trend to outsource food production to poor African countries, some of which suffer from chronic hunger.

In the past year the United Nations World Food Programme has helped to feed 11m people in Ethiopia, which has suffered crop failures and food distribution problems.

Some analysts argue that foreign investment in agriculture, even if earmarked for export, could ultimately help poor countries, providing them with employment, infrastructure, access to agricultural technology and export tax revenues.

However, western agriculture officials familiar with the Saudi plans say they are sceptical that the kingdom’s investment in food production overseas will help poor countries such as Ethiopia.

Riyadh has also provided the most detailed account to date of food-security plans known as the “King Abdullah initiative for Saudi agricultural investment abroad”.

Since the oil-rich kingdom announced last summer that it planned to grow “strategic food commodities” overseas and phase out the water-intensive production of domestic cereals, few details had emerged.

But in a note posted on its foreign affairs website, Riyadh has disclosed that it will “provide credit facilities to Saudi investors in agriculture abroad”, with the focus on “countries with promising agricultural resources and having encouraging government”. It did not say how much money it would make available in credits.

Hail Agricultural Development, a Saudi company, said last month that it would invest in agricultural production in Sudan, with the government providing 60 per cent of the funding.

The Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank said this week that it was looking at investments to support agriculture, including the production of rice to be exported back to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi officials have so far visited Turkey, Ukraine, Egypt, Sudan, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brazil, South Africa and Ethiopia, while delegations from other countries, including Australia, have visited Riyadh to discuss possible investments.

The investments “should be long-term through ownership or long-term contracts”, and Riyadh expects the “liberty of selecting the crops”.

The pursuit of foreign farm investments is the clearest sign of how last year’s price spikes in commodities such as rice, wheat and corn, and the global food crisis that ensued, are reshaping the politics of agriculture.

The move is not only a response to high prices, but also to the export restrictions imposed by leading providers of commodities – including India, Russia, Argentina and Vietnam. These exporters banned overseas sales to keep their local markets well-supplied and some of the restrictions remain in force.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009

  1. በርቱ
    | #1

    አቦጊዳዎች ለምታቀርቡት ዘናዎች ታላቅ አክብሮቴን እየገለጽኩ ግን ከዜናዎች ጋር የሚወጡት ፎቶዎች ትንሽ ሲርየስ ቢሆን ይመረጣል ምናልባት አንዳዴ ዲፕሎማቶችም የናንተን ድህረ ገጽ ሊጎበኙ ይችሉ ይሆናል አቡጊዳ ከብሎግ አልፎ በጣም ታዋቂ ድህረ ገጽ እየሆነ እየመጣ ነው በርግጥ
    ሳቲር ፎቶዎች አያስፈልጉም ማለቴ ሳይሆን አይብዙ ለማለት ነው

  2. ኪሮስ ግርማይ
    | #2

    እነ መለስና ስብሓት እስካተረፉበት ድረስ የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ለምኖ ይበላል ነው ነገሩ::
    ቅንጣት ታክል የሓገር ፍቅር የሌለው መንግስት ከማስወገድ ሌላ አማራጭ አልታይ ብሎኛል::

  3. ሰላም
    | #3

    ያንተን (ያንቺን) ሀሳብ ሙሉ በሙሉ አጋራለሁ:: ባይጋነን መልካም ነው

  4. ali
    | #4

    abugida what is wrong with at saudis envestor came and do bussiness in ethiopia the picture of you are posting saudis king aboudula is not good this kind of disrspacting i am not weyana im ginbot 7 sporter
    i understand u try to say meles is going get same money
    but if u are feeling ethiopia is christan land u don’t to see muslim country do bussiness u are wrong it is direspacting ethiopian muslim people pleas try to coract the picture of saudis king
    god bless ethiopia

  5. ቢን ሱልጣን
    | #5

    አቡጊዳዎች ጥሩ ዜና እያስደመጣችሁን ነው እና በርት
    ለሃገራችን ኢኮኖሚ ከፍተኛ ስተዋጽኦ ያለው ጅምር ነው
    ፎቶግራፉን በተመለከተ ይህ የኪንግ አብደላ ፎቶ ባልሳሳት ከፊት ለፊቱ ማይክ ያለበት ይመስለኛል::ነገር ግን ጥርት ያለ ፎቶ ማቅረብ ወይም ዜናውን ብቻ ማውጣት ጥርይ ይመስለኛል::
    ከምስጋና ጋር

  6. ራስ
    | #6

    የወያኔ ሞራሊቲ ወይንም ሞቶ እኔ እስከበላሁ ለሌላው ድንቄም አልያም ተርበዋል ብዬ እለምን የለ?. ባይ ብነው.;;

  7. ትእግስት
    | #7

    ምግቡ መሽጥ እምጂ ገቅጥታ ወደ ሳውዲ አራብያ መሄድ የለበትም>> ንጉሱ ግዝቶ ይብላ እንጂ እንዴት ቀጥታ ሩዝ ያገኛል:: መንግስት ተቆጣጥሮት ታክስ ተከፍሎበት መሆን ይኖርባታል;; በአጠቅላይ ስፊ መኖር ለኢትዮጲያውያን ተስጥቶ ኢትዮጲያውያን አፍርተው ለገብያ ማቅረብ ይኖርባቸዋል:: ወያኔ ከአናሳ ጎሳ ስለመጣ የራሱ ጎሳ ሰዎችን እንጂ የሌላ ጎሳ ሰዎች ስፊ መሬት እንዲያገኑ አይፈልግም:: ስለሆነም የወያኔ መንግስት መለወጥ ለልማትና ለዑላዊነት ቅደመ-ሁኔታ ነው:: የኢትዮጲያ ሞስልሞች በዚህ ሁኔታ የሃይማኖት ሁነታ እንደሌለበት መገንዘብ ይኖርባቸዋል:: ከሳዊዲ አራብያ ባለሃብቶሞች ጋራ ሁነን ለወድፊትም ወያኔ ከወደቀ በሃላ መሰራት አለበን:: አሰፈላጊም ነው::
    ወያኔ ከሃዲ መሆኑ አረቦችና ሱዳናውያን ያውቃሉ:: ስለሆነም የወያኔን መወደቅ ለዘቀልታዊ ትርፋቸው ሲሉ አረቦች ወያኔ እንዲወድቅ ይፈልጋሉ:: የህዝብ ደጋፍ ከለለው ቡድን ጋራ ሆኖ ባለሃብቶች ሃብታቸውን ለማጥፋት አይፈልጉምና:: የኢትዮጲያ የወድፊቱ ተስፋ አማርው ህዝብ ነው:: ትግሬን የሚያምን ማንም የለም:: ትግሬና እርትራ የአረቦች ለጊዜው መጫወቻ እንጂ ለዘለቀታ እንደ አማራውና እንድ ኦሮሞ አይሆኑም:: አማራና ኦሮሞ ለኢትዮጲያ ሲሉ ተባብረው ስልጣኑን የሚወሰዱበትን መንገንድ መፈልግ አለበት::

  8. wendemachu
    | #8

    i would have been elated with investors coming to invest in ethiopia where everyone could have benefited, but as you all know this is for a few who will sell and do anything to make a few more millions on the back of the masses

  9. Fasil
    | #9

    Selling land for foreign investors to outsource agricultural products is a bad idea. Not only it affects food shortage and food prices but also has an undesired effect on the environment by using unwanted fertilizers and genetically modified crops. Since they are foreign to the land they would only care for their mass products, not for the permanent damage they could cause to the land.

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