Bloomberg | 3 December 2014
by William Davison
Employees of Saudi Star rice farm work in a paddy in Gambella. (Photo: Jenny Vaughan/AFP via Getty Images)
Saudi Star Agricultural Development Plc, an Ethiopian company owned by billionaire Mohamed al-Amoudi, said it plans to invest $100 million in a rice farm in western Ethiopia next year to kick-start the stalled project.
The company leased 10,000 hectares (24,711 acres) in the Abobo district in the Gambella region, where it’s based, in 2008 and bought the 4,000-hectare Abobo Agricultural Development Enterprise from the government 18 months ago for 80 million birr ($4 million). After delays caused by unsuitable irrigation design and contractor performance issues, Saudi Star wants to accelerate work in 2015 after a change of management, a redesign of the farm and a successful trial of rain-fed rice on 2,000 hectares at the formerly government-owned operation, Chief Executive Officer Jemal Ahmed said by phone.
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