Karuturi Global Ltd. (KARG), the world’s largest rose grower, may invest as much as $500 million in food production and processing in Tanzania as it expands operations in East Africa.
The company plans to lease land to grow palm oil, sugar cane and cereals in Tanzania, to add to land it has acquired in Ethiopia where it already grows the same crops, Managing Director Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi said in an interview. Karuturi is currently visiting Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia as part of a delegation of 35 Indian investors who are considering investing $2.5 billion in the three countries, he said.
“There is huge potential for the agriculture sector in East Africa,” Karuturi said. “The region has 120 million hectares (297 million acres) of arable land, the same size of arable land in India.”
Companies from India are boosting economic ties with Africa amid competition from China, its regional rival, whose trade with the continent totaled $106.8 billion in 2008, according to Consultancy Africa Intelligence’s website. Trade between India and Africa currently stands at $50 billion, according to the African Union.
Karuturi Global’s investment in Tanzania will “mainly come from our internal resources,” Karuturi said, without providing further details. The company is seeking 200,000 hectares of land for palm oil, 150,000 hectares for cereals and 20,000 hectares for sugarcane, he said.