Clearing Wood 1

LandRush - The Farm

LandRush - The Farm
Frauke Huber, Uwe H. Martin

Gambela, a forlorn plot of land tucked away between the Ethiopian highlands and the vast expanse of South Sudan. Gambela—hot, humid, flat. Unchanged for centuries: Tribes leading their herds. Anuak, Nuer, Murle fighting for cattle, women, pastures. First with spears, now with kalashnikovs.

Gambela—suddenly a hotspot of international developments. In 2008 global food prices exploded, making many governments painfully aware of their reliance on food imports. Outsourcing food production is becoming a global trend. Farmland is today’s hottest investment, triggering a genuine land rush. 

Ramakrishna Karuturi, a rose producer from India, has secured 100,000 hectares of land in Gambela. If it is developed successfully, the Ethiopian government has promised him a further 200,000 hectares—a farm roughly the size of Luxembourg. Flat like a pancake, perfectly suited for industrial agriculture and the use of the enormous agricultural machinery that Karuturi has already imported.

The land is so fertile that a seed only needs to fall on the soil to start sprouting. A living land. “Paradise” is a recurring word in our conversations.