Mumbai/Addis Ababa — Large-scale land deals by investors in Africa are coming under greater scrutiny after an Indian firm demanded compensation for the cancellation of its lease by Ethiopia, with analysts saying they are hurting local communities and damaging ecosystems. Karuturi Global, one of the largest investors in Ethiopia’s commercial farming industry, said the cancellation of its lease for 100,000ha in the western Gambella region broke the terms of its agreement with the government. Ethiopian officials, who have earmarked some 11.5-million hectares of land for overseas firms to invest in agriculture, say Karuturi failed to make adequate progress on the land allotted for growing and exporting sugarcane, rice and palm oil. Critics say neither side addresses the more controversial issue of millions of indigenous people and small farmers being forcefully removed from their ancestral land with little consultation or compensation. "These large-scale plantations and farms are displa...

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