Controversial tea plantation approved 89.5 million birr bank loan

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A controversial tea plantation project in one of the most protected forestlands in the country and owned by an Indian company, Virdante Harvest, has been approved for 89.5 million birr bank loan last week. The Development Bank of Ethiopia accepted the loan proposal upon the recommendation of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) after various environmental groups including President Girma Woldegiorgis objected to the project. The Godera forest is among the 58 main natural forestlands in Ethiopia and Virdante has received some 3,012 hectares of land inside the forestland and has already started to clear and prepare for plantation.
The president in his letter written to the minister of agriculture, Tefera Derbew, contested the practice of giving natural forestlands to commercial farmers. “And hence, the company should stop the clearing immediately and the forest should be returned to the locals,” the president said in the letter. However, the ministry did not respond to the petition to date. In fact, it has endorsed the company to get access to banks.
(The Ethiopian Reporter)