Authorities in the Gambela region of Ethiopia are investigating Karuturi Global and other farmland grabbers for criminal activities

Sources within the regional government of Gambela have confirmed to Anywaa Survival Organisation (ASO) that several foreign and national investors with large agricultural leases are being investigated for illegal activities, including corruption, environmental destruction, and failure to uphold the terms of their contracts. The companies being investigated include India based Karuturi Global, which acquired a 300,000 ha lease in 2008, and Saudi Star Company of Saudi Arabia, which acquired a 10,000 ha lease in 2009.

Gambela region is a tiny enclave in the south of Ethiopia, bordering South Sudan, with an estimated population of 300,000. It is a linguistically, ethnically and culturally distinct region with abundant water reserves, biodiversity, and fertile farmlands. The area is a potential food basket for drought and famine stricken Ethiopia, the second most populous country in the Horn of Africa. More than 90 percent of the people of Gambela live in rural areas and depend on small scale farming, hunting, fishing and pastoralism. For such traditional communities, the value of land and access to natural environment is immeasurable…

Karuturi Global CEO Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi at his farm in Gambela. Local sources report that the company’s farm was recently shut down. (Photo: Planète à vendre) 

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