South Korean KRC acquires 100,000 ha in Tanzania

100,000 hectares of land in Tanzania’s Rufiji valley are to be developed by South Korean corporation KRC as part of an ongoing large-scale farming initiative in developing countries.

In an interview with the BBC, Lee Ki-Churl, of the state-run Korea Rural Community Corp. said the move will see Tanzanian farmers benefit from an education centre as well as from South Korean expertise on the ground.

Current plans would see half the land given over to local farmers with the rest being used to set up a food processing complex for export to Korea.

The deal represents another step in a continuing drive to find fresh arable land for South Korea, one of a number of developed countries now turning to Africa for new agricultural opportunities.

The initiative is partly the product of Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda’s visit to South Korea earlier this month to help develop economic ties between the two nations, including the possibility of co-operation over Tanzania’s considerable amounts of unexploited farmland.

Cheong Wa Dae, the office of the president, reported that South Korea’s President Lee “gave a high evaluation to the progress of Tanzania, which has emerged as an exemplary nation with great growth potential among African nations”.

The deal signals an ongoing growth of interest in economic investment in Tanzania’s 33.2 million hectares of uncultivated arable land, following a Reuters report of Saudi interest in a lease of 500,000 hectares of land in April.