Monday, September 12, 2011

Karuturi Global to Plant 20,000 Hectares in Oromia

September 11, 2011 - Ramakrishna Karuturi of Karuturi Global has made expansion intentions of his limited company clear. According to Ramakrishna Karuturi, his company is planning to use 20,000 hectares to plant food crops, including rice, Sorghum, maize, soybeans, and sunflower, in the Oromia region by November 2011. The company has leased a total of 100,000 hectares in Ethiopia, besides two flower farms in Oromia.
Karuturi Global employs about 3,000 people in its two flower farms in Holeta, which produce roses to be exported to Europe, particularly Germany. Besides, the Indian limited company has two farms in Gambella and Bako areas, which process sugar, rice, palm oil, maize. More than 2,000 people work on these two farms. Karuturi Global plans to expand employment to at least 25,000 people with an eye on increasing production.

The company’s managing director said they expect to harvest rice and maize on about 10,000 hectares by September and palm oil on 5,000 hectares. The company plans to increase the production of palm oil by up to 20,000 hectares in about five years, hoping to take the production to about 100,000 tons so as to meet the demand of this Horn of Africa country, which exports about 90,000 tons of palm oil annually.

Karuturi Global began planting sugarcane on about 15,000 hectares in Gambella region in December 2010. The company has plans to increase the production to about 20,000 hectares. Sugar and palm oil remain the principal crops for Karuturi Global, which has a rich market in Ethiopia and member states of COMESA.

The company started investing in Ethiopia seven years back. At that time, Karuturi Global Limited, primarily known for venturing into Food processing, Agriculture, and Floriculture sectors, started with an initial investment in 100 hectares. Today, its total investment in the country has reached $150 million from $5 million seven years back.

Karuturi managing director believes that agriculture ventures will help further the growth of the company and consolidate its presence in African markets, including Ethiopia and Kenya. The company, the biggest exporter of cut roses, has a rose farm in Kenya as well.

India is only the second largest investor in Ethiopia, preceded only by the European Union. Recently, many Indian companies have shown interest in Ethiopia and plan to invest in the country in the coming years, particularly in agriculture and floriculture. In fact, according to the Ministry of External Affairs, more than $2 billion of India’s total investment of $4.78 billion in Ethiopia comes from these two sectors.
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