Indian investors eyeing Ethiopian agriculture

August 29th, 2011 | by addis portal |

ADDIS ABABA: A group of Indian investors are visiting Ethiopia with interest in the east Afrian nation’s rapidly growing farm sector.

The delegation of over 30 Indian investors, led by Ramakrishna Karuturi, founder and managing director of Karuturi Global limited company, visited Addis Ababa this past week to expand India’s foothold in the agricultural sector.

Subhash Chandra, second secretary of the Indian embassy in Ethiopia, said India is a leading nation in innovation.

“Indian technology is appropriate, affordable and valuable and this can help Ethiopia accelerate its development. Indian investment in Ethiopia currently stands at $4.5 billion and is dominated mostly by floriculture and agriculture,” Chandra told IANS.

Ethiopia’s exports to India are mainly agricultural exports with the bulk of them consisting of pulses and gum. The most lucrative of Ethiopia’s exported produce is coffee. India’s biggest exports to Ethiopia come from the fields of construction, education and electronics.

The two countries relationship however has diversified to other sectors, as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh noted in May during the India-Africa summit held in Addis Ababa.

Manmohan Singh announced India would support the development of a new Ethio-Djibouti Railway line by offering $300 million. India also provided loans for sugar projects in the country through the Export-import bank of India which opened its offices in Addis Ababa last year.

Sheila Sudhakaran, assistant secretary general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), said the visiting delegation came from a diverse area and includes not only machinery, agriculture, and health, but all issues related to farming.

“FICCI is working in many sectors in Africa but mostly in farming. Our fist summit was held in New Delhi in 2008, and then we had another one in Mumbai in 2010. We also organised a workshop on contract farming in India in 2010 as well. Our relationship with Ethiopia is primarily related to agricultural development,” she said.

Eyesuswork Zafu, president of the Ethiopian Chamber and Sectoral Associations, said: “If it wasn’t for the period when Ethiopia was under the communist military junta regime and when India had its period of introspection, business ties between the two countries would have been much larger than it is today.”

He added that the chambers of commerce of the two countries have already signed agreements to “enthusiastically renew their commitment”.

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