Farmers see ‘land grab’ as opportunity

Posted on February 20, 2011


In Ethiopia large plots of rural land are being leased to foreign investors. According to critics this disadvantages local farmers. They talk about ‘land grab’ and ‘neocolonialism’. In Hidi, a small town in the Ethiopian Oromo region, farmers disagree: “We know how to take opportunities.”

While women prepare themselves for the weekly Tuesday market in Hidi, approximately sixty kilometers south of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, farmers gather in a nearby tej bet, a honey wine bar, and order their first beverage of many.

In recent years sixteen investors, from Israel, Ethiopia and the Netherlands, have opened large-scale farms nearby the village. In order to obtain their hectares they had to ‘buy out’ local farmers who used the land for farming and living.

“We were eager to sell,” says Shefaro Kebede. The farmer recalls that investors came to his village to negotiate directly with the locals. “We sat down and talked, face-to-face, and came to an agreement.”

In a verbal agreement farmland was leased for fifteen years against… Read More on the website of Radio Netherlands Worldwide.