Baba, I have read both articles thoroughly when they were posted. While such investment deals by the government of Ethiopia is indefensible I will say this. A similar situation is and has been occurring in Kenya in the coffee industry. I will not go into the exact numbers, but Kenya coffee is some of the best and most expensive coffee in the world, however, I have met many farmers who live in abject poverty, and who receive pennies for their coffee while multinationals make millions. I recognize the inequity!
But waiting on the government and multi-nationals to change their tactics, is not the approach, that I think is the most effective. I will speak for myself – but when I added up the numbers, assessed the living conditions of my Kenyan brothers who were farming – I made a decision, register a small coffee exporting business in Kenya, buy direct from the farmers cooperatives and market the coffee internationally under our own brand name, although I am in the beginning stage, the initiative has been started with just my wife and I for under $1000.00 USD (including business registration and 150 lbs of coffee). From the 150 lbs I bought, the cooperative made double what they would have made, had they took this small amount of coffee to auction.
My point is this, small initiatives by individual and organized Africans, can make a great impact on our people here on the continent. I don’t know anything about the coffee business, but I saw a need to assist farmers and a market opportunity, thus a win-win situation has ensued. Imagine if there was just a few more Africans here on the ground engaged whereby we could brand our own natural resources (adding value) and not just sell our raw products at pennies on the dollar.
I agree that land grants should be provided, but should we wait until we receive land grants to return to the land?
In the Ethiopia article, it states, “One advantage to starting a plantation 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the border with war-torn Southern Sudan and a four- day drive to the nearest port: The land is free. Under the agreement with Ethiopia’s government, Karuturi pays no rent for the land for the first six years. After that, it will pay 15 birr (U.S. $1.18) per hectare per year for the next 84 years”
What is stopping a collective of InI from forming a Conscious-ation – there is no rent, and once we do start paying rent, its $1.18 per hectare. Question is – how many of InI are willing to do business 31 kms from Sudan?
InI can get a sprawling farm right here in Kenya for less than $10k USD. Whats stopping us…? Instead of Karuturi – How about Rastafari Growers Cooperative…? It’s not that hard, nor is it very expensive. Do you think that the Ethio government gave that land to the Asians b/c they were Asian? I don’t think so, they did because the Asians had a plan – even though the big picture of the plan was devilish. Whether the Ethioian gov’t is aware of that or not, is a whole other issue.
Again, I agree with the premise of land grants – but I will say again, who has developed a proposal which illustrates what they would do if a land grant was provided? This is something that InI can do!
There is a link for land for $1300 USD per acre (and this is expensive in the area)
On the coast of Kenya you can still get an acre of beachfront property for less than 6k USD - but not for long cause the Uropeans are grabbing it - while we wait for govt leaders, others are organizing and buying up Africa, to the detriment of Africans - and putting a good portion of our people in continued servitude.
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