Conglomerate Wide business Private Limited Company plans to set up a commercial farm on 1550hct of land.
The corporation that owns metal supplier Artmetal jewelry and wrought iron company, the ferric belt processing and engineering factory and Hast Enterprise will make the investment under the newly formed Bura Agro Integrated company.
The farm is located in the Southern Nations and Nationalities and People’s Regional States (SNNPRs) in Sidama Zone, Loka Abaya woreda Bura kebele. The new company is named after that kebele.
Seid Hassen, General Manager of Wide Business said they have invested about 25 million birr already for the integrated agro-commercial irrigation farming on 428hct. It took the 428hct for a lease period of 45 years for a value of 70 birr per hectare.
The company has already allocated 28hct for horticultural activities and 400hct for cotton farming. They hope to start planting in February 2013. So far it has spent 10 million birr of the 25 million birr it had budgeted for the land.
Every year the company expects it will produce 30 quintals of cotton per hectare. This means that the farm should harvest 12,000 quintals of cotton and return 54 million birr in sales.
The company plans to supply to the cotton textile factories across Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government has tasked textile companies with fulfilling the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) targets of USD one billion worth of textile exports by 2015.
Seid further said on an additional 1100hct, which Bura plans to lease from the Southern Regional Government, it plans to plant vegetables. They hope it will yield 1000 quintals of tomatoes per hectare and 800 quintals of onions per hectare. The first yields are expected in April 2012.
They also have taken an additional 5,000sqm in Hawassa city 275Km south of Addis Ababa for a factory which would use the commercial farm’s products for agro-industrial purposes.
The farm’s cotton and future sesame by products will be processed into agro-industrial products like oil or cattle, fish feed and fertilizer.
Wide Business P.L.C. is investing in agriculture because they believe they can participate in Ethiopia’s food self-sufficiency goals and create a competitive agricultural market for Ethiopia’s 80 plus million people, said the general manager.
Seid also said there’s a plan for the additional 1100hct set aside for commercial fish farming as it plans to fish from the nearby Gidabo River. The Gidabo river irrigation dam is a 15,000hct irrigation project.
The sparsely exploited fish resource potential of the nearby Abaya Lake which has not been fished commercially because of crocodile infestation is also part of the plan.
But Wide Business isn’t stopping there they also plan to develop bee hives and plant trees for lumber production in an ecologically friendly manner.
The company has 25 permanent and 80 temporary employees for this project. They expect to hire over 200.