Madagascar May Welcome Farm Ventures After Daewoo Cancellation
Bloomberg | 10 April 2009
By Olivier Ramaro and Antony Sguazzin
April 10 (Bloomberg) -- Madagascar has “definitely abandoned” a $6 billion farming agreement with Daewoo Logistics Corp., though may welcome agriculture investment in the future, Minister of Land Reform Hajo Andrianainarivelo said.
The agreement announced by Daewoo in November to grow corn and other crops on 1.3 million hectares (3.21 million acres) of land was canceled by the island’s President Andry Rajoelina, the Financial Times reported on March 19. Daewoo says it is yet to be informed of the decision.
“The project by itself wasn’t bad and such a project is welcome,” Andrianainarivelo said in an interview in the capital Antananarivo yesterday. “The approach was wrong,” he added, citing protests by local communities.
Madagascar’s former President Marc Ravalomanana resigned last month following two months of protests by supporters of Rajoelina in which at least 100 people died. The country has been suspended by the African Union and the Southern African Development Community after its military helped install Rajoelina as national leader.
“We have not received an official notice of cancellation from Madagascar,” Shin Dong Hyun, the manager of the project for Daewoo Logistics said by telephone today from Seoul. The company may switch the project to African nations offering better infrastructure and legal support if Madagascar breaches its agreement, he said. Any new investments would be smaller, he added.
The project would have necessitated $2 billion in infrastructure investment and would have created 45,000 jobs, the FT reported.
Madgascar’s new government has not been officially notified of the plans by Varun International, an Indian company, to lease 465,000 hectares of land in the regions of Melaky, Atsinanana and Sofia, Andrianainarivelo said.
“No official agreements or licenses have been signed or given till now,” he said.
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