Ethiopia’s farm investment plans falter on flood plain
Gleaming Deere & Co. tractors and harvesters are sitting idle five years after Karuturi Global Ltd. opened a farm in Ethiopia that was hailed as the poster child of the country’s plan to triple food exports by 2015. Eighty percent of the Bangalore-based company’s land in the southwestern Gambella region is on a flood plain, meaning its 100,000-hectare (247,100-acre) concession is inundated by the Baro River for as much as seven months of the year, according to Managing Director Ramakrishna Karuturi. The company was unaware of the extent of the flooding when it leased the land, he said.
Executives from Mint Consulting of Pakistan visit a rice farm in Gambela that they are developing. The farm is owned by Saudi Star Agricultural Development Plc, the company of Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire Mohamed al-Amoudi. So far, by November 2013, rice has been planted on 350 hectares of a 10,000-hectare lease.