Punjab farmers take up Ethiopian offer

Sikh Sangat News | July 11, 2010

Amritsar, Punjab: 1 LAKH HECTARE LAND – ON LEASE, RS 5 CR, 200 FARMERS SET OUT FOR DESTINATION AFRICA. A group of farmers from Punjab are planning to take 1 lakh hectare land on lease in the African nation of Ethiopia for cultivation. The plan follows the visit of a delegation of the Jalandhar Potato Growers Association (JPGA) to the country on an invitation by the Ethiopian government, which offered the land on a subsidised lease plan.

“Initially, for two years, we would cultivate only reg ular crops and then the cultivation of potatoes, in which the association has expertise, would be started,“ JPGA president Raghbir Singh told HT.

As per plan, a company would be formed with at least 200 farmers contributing the initial share capital of Rs 5 crore for the project. The association has already submitted an application for registration of the group as a company in Ethiopia.

“Ethiopian Ambassador Gennet Zewide and Minister for Capacity Building Tefera Walwa assured us that there would be no charges for the lease in the first four years, and only Rs 500 per acre per annum for the subsequent 25-30 years,“ he added. The equipment would be taken from India under a dutyfree import arrangement.

Narrating the experience of the delegation of five farmers that went to Ethiopia, Singh said the Director (Agriculture) of Ethiopia offered them land in two states, Gambela near the border with Sudan and Tegre near the Somalia border.

“The soil in Gambela is good for cotton, maize, wheat and paddy while Tegre is good for pulses,“ said Jaswinder Singh Sangha, secretary of the association, adding that the delegation would make some more visits to Ethiopia before finally selecting land.

Source: HT

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