Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How Ethiopians benefit from Indian (and other) land investors

(Feb 26, 2013, The Hindu)--The article in The Hindu, by Ashish Kothari, “How Ethiopians are being pushed off their land” (Op-Ed, February 19, 2013) is far from the truth and makes charges that are unfounded.   

Had the organisers of the so-called “India-Ethiopia Seminar on Land Investment” been interested in presenting a legitimate report to the Indian public, they would have invited the Embassy of Ethiopia in New Delhi or Indian investors who can give first hand information on Ethiopia’s land policy.

The prime focus of the policy of the government of Ethiopia is ensuring food security of its citizens. To this end, the priority area is the enhancement of agricultural productivity at household levels. 

This implies that the bulk of the government’s positive intervention in the area of ensuring food security involves helping the millions of smallholder farmers in the country. The government believes that such a focus can best address the bulk of the population. 

Not only is the government focused on providing the necessary support and leadership to small holders, but it has a clear policy that no small holding farmer will be dispossessed of his/her land for the purpose of foreign investors intending to engage in commercial farming. There is absolutely no farmer displaced from his or her land for any such purpose. 

In this regard it is worth noting that most criticism against the government had in the past largely been about the government’s “over-protection” of smallholders and its reluctance to fully embrace massive commercial farming. Read more from The Hindu »

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