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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mega scale farming in Ethiopia

April 2008. The government of Gambela state in Ethiopia had invited Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi to discuss his offer to lease 100,000 hectare for farming. Karuturi's expectations of a deal going through were so low that he sent his public relations officer Ashok Sharma and some  lawyers for the meeting. The managing director of the world's largest rose exporter, the Rs 645-crore Karuturi Global (KGL), had better things to do with his time than take a 700-km ride from Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa for a deal that seemed unlikely to materialise.

But his father, Karuturi Surya Rao, promoter of a Bangalore-based cable maker, and also chairman of Karuturi Global, offered to join the troupe. Though the deal seemed unlikely, Karuturi senior was worried about his son's soaring ambitions and wanted to make sure that no undue risks were being taken.

As it turned out, Karuturi was both right — and wrong. The state would not offer 100,000 hectare (ha). Instead, it wanted him to take 300,000 ha (or 741,000 acre, an area twice the size of the National Capital Territory of Delhi) on a 99-year lease at 20 birr (about $1.5) per ha per annum.

Read the complete article  here

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