Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Sunday, September 19, 2010

ethiopia's takeover

sainath's "how to end famine" article had a note on india's strategy to access farmland overseas, especially in africa.
i still refer to this hare-brained idea 'imperialisitc'.

and quite expectedly, the locals have started to object.
tehelka reports that indian companies are being accused of land-grabbing.

but some of the information is quite staggering.

Karuturi Global Ltd runs a pilot project on 10,000 hectares now, but plans to increase its capacity to 5,00,000 hectares in the coming years. “This vast fertile land, leased to the company, would deprive local people of their livelihood and increase destitution, leading to higher crime rates in both rural and urban areas,” adds Ochalla.

Karuturi denies the charge, saying the land is leased from Ethiopia’s Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry. “There has been a reaffirmation by the government, and we have an offer of over three million hectares of additional land,” he told TEHELKA.
and this land is for growing roses for the european market.
which is an unpardonable sin - using fertile agricultural land for cash crops.

ethiopia has a farmland area of close to 32 million hectares (0.317 million square kms).
In recent months, the impoverished and chronically food-insecure nation has become one of the world’s leading agribusiness destinations after the government leased for 40-99 years one of its hottest commodities: farmland. As a result, a host of countries from South and Southeast Asia and Latin America rushed in to seize the opportunity. An estimated 50 million acres have been leased by them in the past two years, in a mad rush partly driven by last year’s global food crisis.
50 million acres = 20 million hectares = 62.5% of the total farmland.
even adjusting by a factor of 10 due to reporting error, these numbers are borderline insane.

in our 8 months here in rural TN, we have had to face this 'outsider' remark.
i can certainly understand why the ethiopian farmers are up in arms. this is 'selling out the country' lock-stock and barrel.

and of all thing ROSES - it is downright criminal.
ethiopia - situated in the horn of africa - is in the horns of a hippo-sized dilemma.

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