By FINNIGAN WA SIMBEYE, 16th August 2011 @ 12:00, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 796
INDIAN horticulture mogul, Ramakrishna Karuturi, is seeking 100,000 hectares of land to invest in food production and floriculture.
Addressing an Indian-Tanzania Agri-business forum held in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, Mr Karuturi who is founder and Managing Director of Karuturi Global Limited, said he wants to grow rice, sugarcane, wheat, palm oil and flowers.
"We hope to get land here so that we can invest in food production to address the problem of hunger in the region," Karuturi said during the forum which was attended by over 35 visiting Indian business persons and their local partners.
Karuturi Global which has horticulture farms in Ethiopia, Kenya and India is the largest rose producer in the world with over 650 million stems produced annually under green houses in the three countries.
With a workforce of around 10,000 employees, the company acquired 311,700 hectares of land in Ethiopia to cultivate palm oil, sugarcane and cereals.
"Karuturi's preparedness, vision and strategy in foreseeing the severe food shortage that the world faces in the coming years, with steady depletion of food grain stocks in the world markets has prompted the company to enter into innovative agricultural business models in Africa," he pointed out.
Other Indian companies seeking to invest in the country's agriculture called on their local partners to work together through contract framing to increase production and add value to commodities.
"We are seeking partners in contract farming of cotton in Tanzania to work with," said Praveen Rander, Director of Sri Bhagirath Textiles Limited which manufactures yarn.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Co-operatives, Mr Mohammed Muya, assured the visiting Indian business delegation that Tanzania is officially open to business.
"Our country has huge agriculture potential which we welcome you to with local partners to exploit for economic growth," Mr Muya said in a speech read on his behalf by Director of Crop Development, Mr Geoffrey Kirenga.
Mr Muya paid tribute to Indian and Tanzanian bilateral relations which have seen New Delhi give Dar es Salaam a 40 million US dollars loan this year.
"If you invest in Tanzania, you are sure of exploiting a huge market in East Africa and southern Africa because of our strategic geographic position," Mr Muya lured the delegation members.
The Indian High Commissioner, Ambassador Kocheril Bhagirath, said negotiations for another 92 million US dollars (about 138bn/-) loan were at an advanced stage which will also go to the agriculture sector.
"This puts in focus the importance of Tanzania to India especially in agriculture production," Mr Bhagirath said.
India has also offered 36 million US dollars to assist the country's transport sector this year.
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