Investment by Indian-owned Karuturi Global has raised questions about whether Ethiopia is literally giving away the farm, or conversely, launching a 'green revolution' to help Ethiopia feed itself.
Joining the neo-colonial bandwagon, Indian companies are taking over agricultural land in African nations and exporting produced food at the cost of locals
Karuturi Global is now one of the biggest private land owners in the world. They have invested over a quarter of a billion dollars in Ethiopia and Kenya alone. BBC reports.
"We are using knowledge and resources from Latin America and North America, capital from this part of the world (India) and land from Africa to make hopefully a heady cocktail,"says Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi
“We have finalised deals with four big agro companies in India for joint ventures for different crops that we are looking at growing – rice, maize, oil palm and sugarcane,” says Karuturi.
The 19th century had the Great Scramble for Africa, when developed nations raced for several decades to lay claim to new territories and their riches. This century may yet be known as the Great Selloff of Africa.
The State government announced that it would amend relevant laws to enable farmers to use their land as equity in farming collaborations with private companies.
"If we lose our family farmers, we'll lose the diversity in our food supply, and what we eat will be dictated to us by a few large corporations," says Chukki Nanjundaswamy of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha
In an apparent attempt to avoid protests from farmers who have expressed fears that the goverment would acquire their lands to give it to MNCs, Chief Minister urges them not to be carried away by a "misinformation campaign".
Karuturi Agro Products Plc has refuted reports that the company subleased farm land to Indian farmers, claiming instead that the Indian farmers were hired solely for consultancy services.
Indian author and media commentator Anand Giridharadas joins this Al Jazeera programme along with Oakland Institute’s Executive Director, Anuradha Mittal, and Christine L. Adamow, Managing Director of Africa BioFuel, a US company invested in farmland in Kenya and Tanzania.
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