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A new agency responsible for large-scale agricultural investments was officially launched two weeks ago.
The Agriculture Investment Agency (AIA) was set up to oversee large-scale and mechanised agricultural investment on land belonging to the Ministry Land Bank.
Its aim is to boost investment in agriculture.
Abera Mulat, an agriculture expert at the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), has been appointed as the head of the new agency.
Kebede Lakew, from the MoA public relations office, told Capital that the main reason for the agency’s formation is to bring about improvements in agricultural development by taking direct control of land belonging to the federal government and support regional offices, which are responsible for allocating land for agricultural investment.
This work was previously the remit of the Investment Supporting Directorate, also part of the MoA, but following approval by the Council of Ministers, the new agency was established with a government declaration in February.
43 investors with more than 460,000 hectares of land have registered with the federal government for agriculture investment, but many are not performing as expected.
Many investors have not even begun work on their projects, even in cases where they received land more than two years ago.
“Controlling this wide range of investments cannot be managed by the directorate,” said one expert. Many believe an independent institution needs to take on management of the sector.
The agency will be responsible for looking after the food and industrial input of agricultural developments that are established on lands controlled by the federal government.
In addition, it will help to provide the necessary infrastructure to the area, such as electricity and roads.
For horticulture and floriculture agricultural investment the government established the Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency in 2008, which is also under MoA.
AIA is the third agency under the ministry, alongside the Horticulture Development Agency and the Federal Cooperative agencies.
The ministry office is administrating 3.6 million hectare of land registered from Oromia, Benishangul Gumuz, Gambella and the Southern regions for large scale agriculture investments. Out of which it has currently allocated 460,000 hectare to local and foreign investors.
According to Kebede, regional administrations as well as the federal government have provided investors with 2.2 million hectares of land.