Ethiopia's farmland in high demand

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Washington Post | 22 October 2009

Governments across Africa are leasing land to foreign investors who use it to grow food to compensate for their own deficit, or for export. 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. (Miguel Juarez for The Washington Post)

Original source: Washington Post
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2 Comments


  1. dharvinder singh
    01 Oct 2010

    an interesting part to witness is the assumption of intensive methods being water hungry. the new and proven methods like drip irrigation , canal system not only consume less water but with the advent of many technologies such as laser levelling , tensiometer , the water consumption becomes much more controlled and efficient. hence i am sure the new technology will put the water-resource to an efficient use. dharvinder singh student msc agricultural economics P.A.U

  2. Talib Murad Elam
    24 Oct 2009

    The article in the Washington Post, October 22nd, refers to Ethiopia offering land to foreign investors. This is not the first time that Ethiopia has done this and its land has been snapped up by investors and countries outside Africa. On offer now is 4 million acres of agricultural land and this may have triggered the recent comings and goings of Egyptian governmental ministers between Cairo and Addis Ababa. The first to travel to Addis was the Minister for Foreign Cooperation, followed by the Minister of Agriculture while Egypt's Prime Minister is travelling to Addis next week. Different reasons have been given for Ethiopia's decision but it has raised a lot of concerns in Egypt. Does Egypt want to utilise Ethiopia's agricultural land or is it not more likely that the Egyptian government is more concerned of the threat to the Nile if Ethiopian land is procured by foreign investors? The Nile Valley Treaty of 1929 gave Egypt full control over the Nile river and the procurement of Ethiopian land by foreign investors must be seen as a threat to the Nile. Leasing or selling Ethiopian land to international companies or to other countries will introduce intensive methods of farming to replace the traditional farming methods of the local peasantry. Intensive farming methods are water hungry and huge amounts of water will be taken from the Nile and it is this which has raised alarms in Egypt as 85% of tha Nile eater come from Ethiopia. Ethiopia and the Sudan are two of the major countries offering their land to outsiders and yet they are the biggest receivers of food aid in the world receiving handouts from the UN and foreign donors yet they are giving their agricultural land to others. Foreign investors will want to see a good return for their money and some form of intensive agricultural use will be intended for the land with the resultant high demand for water to irrigate it and maintain the livestock or crops farmed thereon. The fate of Ethiopia's farmlands must be a cause for concern to its neighbours including Somalia with its two rivers Shebelle And Juba which are origenated from Ethiopa Talib Murad Elam, DVM, Ph.D, Retired- FAO Regional Officer for M.East & N.Africa Ex-Chairman UN Staff Federation-Egypt ------------------------------------------------------------ Ty Gwyn, Islwyn Street, Abercarn, Gwent NP11 4ST -UK

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