Karuturi Ltd. obtained land in Ethiopia and started the development of two farms: Bako (~10,000 ha) and Gambella (~130,000 ha). In this project a plan for an integrated agricultural water management strategy was developed for both farms.
The Gambella farm covers a truly vast area of 130,000 ha. Savannah land is currently under phased reclamation. In 2010, approximately 5,000 ha of dryland paddy are expected to be sown in. A palm oil nursery has been set up to support a 20,000 ha irrigated plantation in the near future. The planning on crop types, cropping calendar and crop locations is under progress. Aspects such as drainage, irrigation, flooding, crop water requirements, and water availability should be explored first and will form the basis of the crop selection processes.
Considering the size of the farm, and its option to expand with another 170,000 ha a robust regional scale hydrological model should be developed that could be used for multiple planning purposes. A hydrological model can be used to show the Ethiopian Government that good water management practices are in use on the farm with little impact to the vegetation. With these types of advanced information systems in place, Karuturi will be able to show that a highly efficient agricultural water use system is being implemented in the Gambella region without adverse impacts on regional scale hydrological processes. Proper attention to precious water resources and environment will create credits from various national and international stakeholders.