Officials in Ethiopia hope that the investment can help improve agriculture, replacing ox-and-plough with tractors, but some are concerned about whether the deals benefit the lessors.
« On présente ces contrats comme “ gagnant-gagnant ”, mais c'est de la foutaise ! », s'agace Michel Merlet, directeur de l'ONG Agter.
Farmland deals in Africa inked by private Egyptian firms, commonly called "land grabs," could help the import-dependent nation get access to grain when markets spike, Egypt's agriculture minister Amin Abaza said. "This is going to be a private initiative."
Devinder Sharma talks about landgrabbing in the context of the world food crisis on "Democracy Now!"
Al Amoudi has a new company whose purpose is to grow food in Ethiopia for Saudi Arabia.
Citadel, which also announced on Tuesday that it was investing in 500,000 feddans (210,000 hectares) of farmland in Sudan, is also looking to potential investments elsewhere in Africa: Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia.
He owns land eight times the size of Mumbai, most of it in distant Ethiopia. His company, Karuturi Global, figures among the top 25 agri transnational corporations. But he wants more -- to break into the top 10 and rub shoulders with the likes of ConAgro and Cargill.
Ramakrishna Karuturi does not feature on any international power list. Perhaps he should.
The 'Food Pirates' are fast expanding their network, their reach and their control over land. And it is happening fast in our own neighbourhood, writes Devinder Sharma.
Civil society, including African farmers unions, need to educate local people that such land deals are not in their interests, however couched in 'win-win' terminology they appear to be.
Ethiopia’s government ruling tribal junta has defended its plan to offer 2.7 million hectares of farmland to foreign companies despite millions of citizens who need food aid from the international community.
Sheik Mohammed Hussein Ali Al Amoudi, the second richest person in Saudi Arabia, is preparing to farm cereals on hundreds of thousands of hectares of Ethiopian land for export to Saudi Arabia