Another land Grab in Ethiopia the nations must protect their land from grabbing.
Chadha Agro Plc
set to receive 100,000
By Hayal Alemayehu
Chadha Agro Plc, one of India’s giant operators in agro business, is set to get hold of land twice the size of Addis Ababa to invest in what has already become a popular field for foreign investors and a priority area for the government of Ethiopia. The company has requested a 100,000 ha land to invest in sugar development project while the Ministry of Agriculture has provided it with 22,000 ha land in Guji Zone in Oromia Regional State, according to information gathered from the Oromia investment Commission. The company is set to receive the rest 78,000 ha land after its performance on 22,000 ha land availed is evaluated.
Chadha will be engaged in what is projected to become a massive sugar development investment venture on the 22,000 ha land involving a vast area of sugarcane plantation fields and a modern mill.
Registered last June with an investment capital of close to seven billion birr, the company is scheduled to establish a huge sugarcane farm and factory like the government’s Tindaho sugar development project in the making.
There are currently three state-owned sugar factories operating in the country: Metehara, Fincha and Wonji with an annual production of 120,000 tonnes, 100,000 tonnes and 70,000 tonnes respectively. Aside from the three factories, there are other three giant sugar projects in the pipeline: Al Habesha Mills, a Pakistani’s sugar development project set to commence production in a few months, Tindaho and Hiber Sugar, a share company established recently.
With the project covering the whole 100,000 ha land the company requested, Chadha’s investment plan submitted to the government indicates that it will provide permanent and temporary job opportunities for 35,000 people.
The company is scheduled to launch the project on the allotted 22,000 ha land while the government has given it the green light to receive the additional land for expansion projects.
The Ministry of Agriculture provided the company with the 22,000 ha land a few weeks ago while it will oversee the performance of the project to provide the company with the additional plot. (The Oromia Regional State is not mandated to provide land for investors by itself if the request is more than 5,000 ha.)
With the land grab issue in Ethiopia long becoming a bone of contention between policymakers and critics, Chadha will increase the number of companies which received, or are about to secure, vast lands up to 300,000 ha including Karuturi, another Indian firm globally know as world’s giant flower producer and Saudi Star Agricultural Development Plc, Al-Amoud’s recently established company.