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This profile was last updated on 7/18/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Mr. Ramakrishna Karuturi

Wrong Ramakrishna Karuturi?

Founder and Managing Director

Phone: +91 **********  
Local Address:  Ethiopia
Company Description: Karuturi sells its products to boutique manufacturers and supermarkets across 15 countries namely Holland, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Singapore, Taiwan,...   more

Employment History


  • MBA
    Case Western Reserve University
  • Bachelors’ degree , Mechanical Engineering
    Bangalore University
  • Bachelor's degree , Computer Engineering
  • Bachelors' degree , Mechanical Engineering
    Bangalore University
175 Total References
Web References - Board of Directors, 18 July 2015 [cached]
Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi
Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi
Managing Director
Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi is the Founder and Managing Director of Karuturi Global Ltd. Under his dynamic leadership, Karuturi Global has become the world's largest producer of cut-roses by identifying Kenya & Ethiopia as a hub for cultivation and export of roses.
Mr. Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi holds a Bachelors’ degree (Rank Holder) in Mechanical Engineering from Bangalore University and an MBA (Dean’s Honor) from Case Western Reserve University, Ohio.
Ms. Karuturi has been involved in managing the company since its inception. She aids Mr. Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi in realising Karuturi Global's overseas expansion plans.
Ms. Karuturi holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering.
Karuturi, an Indian ... [cached]
Karuturi, an Indian agribusiness, is touted to be "the world's largest producer and exporter of cut roses with operations spread across Ethiopia, Kenya and India. In 2008, Karuturi "leased" 300,000 hectares in the western Ethiopia region of Gambella. The "lease" was ballyhooed as the stepping stone to Karuturi's rise to become one of the world's largest food producers. The Karuturi rose ultimately proved to be the titan arum (corpse flower) of Gambella.
When the Guardian newspaper did its eye opening report in 2011, it claimed Gambella is about the size of Wales (the land of the mythical King Arthur and his kingdom of Camelot) in the west of England. If Karuturi is going to OWN so much of Gambella for the next 99 years, I figured, in the interest of factual accuracy and to make official the change of ownership of the land, Gambella should be renamed "Karuturistan".
Karuturi sealed its deal with the ruling Thugtatorship of the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front (T-TPLF), which touted the Karuturi deal as an example of the wholesome foreign investment being made in Ethiopia. By 2011, the late T-TPLF leader, Meles Zenawi, was bloviating about how he had found the magic bullet to make Ethiopia food secure. Meles' secret weapon against the Black Horseman of the Apocalypse spreading famine across the land for decades was Karuturi. Meles boldly bragged "within five years Ethiopia will no longer need food aid."
Shortly after Meles rose to his "throne" in 1991, he declared he would consider his government a success if Ethiopians were able to eat three meals a day. The "Congressional Budget Justification Foreign Operations Appendix 2 for Fiscal Year 2015" reports, "Ethiopia is among the poorest countries in the world, with an annual per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $471 and it remains one of the top recipients of U.S. food and emergency assistance to respond to chronic food insecurity and under-nutrition. So much for "not needing food aid"!
There are too many unanswered questions about the 300 thousand hectare "lease" (it was literally a gift) to Karuturi.
Frankly, my initial puzzlement over the Karuturi "lease" was whether the sly, cunning and cagey T-TPLF operators had hoodwinked Karuturi into "investing" in Gambella? Or could it be simple greed that blinded Karuturi into getting in the Gambella boondogle?
Nonetheless, with regards to what is known and unknown about land "leases" in Ethiopia including Karuturi's, Dessalegn Rahmato, an Ethiopian scholar, raised a number of very important issues in his 2011 article "LAND TO INVESTORS: Large-Scale Land Transfers in Ethiopia.
However, the circumstantial evidence garnered from various analyses and studies paint an incredible picture of apparent naivite, wishful thinking, greed, gullibility and manipulation on the part of Karuturi.
When Karturi got its "leasehold" in Gambella in 2008, it was as though it had been served Manna (divine food) from Heaven on a golden plate. Karmjeet Sekhon, Karuturi's head in Ethiopia explained, "We never saw the land.
Sekhon's euphoria confirms the fact that the T-TPLF delivered the crown jewels of the most fertile land in Ethiopia to Karuturi for "very cheap" and let Karuturi do whatever it wanted with the land. What is the logical thing one would do with a big winning lotto ticket in hand?!
There is circumstantial evidence to suggest that Karuturi undertook some due diligence work after it was "given the land without seeing it. (For my readers who may not be familiar, "due diligence" is a process by which a purchaser, lessor or prospective investor would undertake reasonable inquiry into the commercial potential of a business venture as part of a comprehensive appraisal of assets, liabilities, etc,.)
By late 2009, Karuturi began infrastructure improvements on its "leasehold" (gift) in Gambella. To guard against catastrophic floods from the Baro River (known to the indigenous Anuak as Upeno River) with its tributaries, the Alwero and Jikawo Rivers, Karuturi built dykes (to block the natural flow of the water) and undertook other construction activities. Karuturi's business strategy from the beginning was to skate on the thrifty side of things. It calculated it could import cheap agricultural equipment from India, but soon determined the Indian equipment was inappropriate for large scale commercial farming. In 2010, Karuturi placed orders with John Deere, the American multinational agricultural equipment manufacturer.
Karuturi apparently had not planned carefully enough in its due diligence for its skilled labor needs. It became clear to the company by late 2009 that getting skilled personnel to manage the Gambella project in a remote area with few modern amenities would prove to be exceedingly difficult. To complicate matters, the technical help it imported from India did not have much experience managing large commercial agricultural enterprises. These planning blunders soon became evident in increased costs, schedule delays, cost overruns and loss of revenue. There were also problems training the unskilled labor from the local area in modern agricultural techniques. The problems were piling up for Karuturi.
By October 2011, Karuturi learned its first lesson best expressed in the verse of Alexander Pope: " For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread./ Distrustful Sense with modest Caution speaks;…/".
Karuturi faced the "thundering Tyde" of the Baro (Upeno) River and its tributaries which overflowed their banks and submerged Karuturi's 80km long system of protective dikes. In a flash, Karuturi saw its corn harvest of 50 thousand metric tons flushed down river without a paddle.
Karuturi CEO Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi announced his company took a $15 million "hit" from the floods. He was dumbfounded by the intensity of the calamity: "This kind of flooding we haven't seen before. This is a crazy amount of water. Who "crazy"!? The Baro River or Karuturi? Had Karuturi come down from his high horse and talked to the local people, he would have found out that most of the land he wanted to develop was in a flood plain. That is why the local people use it mostly for grazing and hunting. So much for Karuturi's due diligence.
The 2011 floods were a bad omen for Karuturi in Gambella.
By April 2013, Karuturi was convicted of tax evasion in Kenya in the amount of USD$11 million. Devlin Kuyek of GRAIN, a non-profit organization that supports small farmers observed, "Not only are they fiscal cheats, but Karuturi has been accused of human rights abuses, poor labour practices, threats to the environment and so on… Even the World Bank Group did not grant Karuturi the political risk insurance it requested for its Ethiopian operations."
Karuturi was under investigation "for criminal activities" by local Gambella authorities. The land development plan and Karuturi's farming practices were having visibly devastating environmental and demographic impact on the local flora and fauna. Thousands of displaced villagers were complaining bitterly about loss of crops and grazing lands.
According to studies by the International Land Coalition, Karuturi paid "Ethiopian farm labourers at its Bako (its other plantation to the northeast of Gambella) farm ETB 10 per day (US$ 0.50) which compares with about ETB 20 per day (US$ 1.00) for labourers on commercial sesame farms in the country. Night guards for the company are said to be paid ETB 300 per month (US$ 15) if they own a gun and ETB 200 (US$ 10) per month if they do not. Karuturi had also imported several hundred farm laborers from India to work which proved to be flashpoint.
Karuturi denied all allegations of abuse and misconduct in its Gambella project. It denied any connection between his company's activities and the T-TPLF's villagisation program. He characterized the accusations as "hogwash" and "a completely jaundiced western vision".
By January 2015, Karuturi had apparently gone belly up. The T-TPLF Director of Agricultural Investment and Land Administration Agency, Abera Mulat, was quoted by The Reporter as saying,"Karuturi has gone bankrupt following internal management crisis.
Karuturi is known for borrowing from CBE, Dashen and Zemen banks. The loan extended to the company exceeds 170 million birr (in monopoly money) and the CEO said that his company is set to settle the debts by the end of this month."
The T-TPLF Land Con Game
The T-TPLF land "lease" (gift) to Karuturi reminds me of the land scams of the 1960s and 70s in the U.S., particularly in the State Florida.
I am still not sure if Karuturi was a (willing) victim of a Florida-type land scam. It is unimaginable to me how any company would invest so many millions of dollars in an area known to all to be a floodplain. Didn't Karuturi complete an environmental (including impact) study? Didn't it talk to the local elders and people? Maybe it did and arrogantly forged ahead full speed, damn th
Sai Ramakrishna ..., 15 June 2008 [cached]
Sai Ramakrishna KaruturiManaging Director, Executive DirectorKaruturi Global Limited
Major Loopholes in Land Lease Contracts Raise Many Questions, 12 May 2011 [cached]
The next day, Karuturi's Chief Executive Officer Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi denied it in a press release; asserting that the reports were completely baseless; making the stock surge upwards in a fast recovery. At the same time, the previously non-public Karuturi contract was posted on the FDRE website; which seemed to infer in Article 3.6 that Karuturi may have been right. Under Rights of the Lessee it states that Karuturi would have the right to: "Get additional 200,000 ha land upon accomplishing the 100,000 ha within two years as specified in sub article 4.4." In this sub article, it states that "lessee [Karuturi] must develop half of the leased plot of land within the first years. In the FDRE's public statement, made by Esayas Kebede, he acknowledged that Karuturi was meeting this requirement. [ii]
The question here is, why this public spectacle of this dispute between the FDRE and Karuturi when it all apparently came to nothing? Was it to please critics of the land deals? Was it to intimidate Karuturi in some way by using misleading information to influence stock prices-which could be considered a crime under securities law in most countries?
Karuturi's signed lease agreement for the first 100,000 ha, they have been given the land for fifty years at a total cost of only 100,000,000 birr ($5,928,758.42 USD); or only $59.28 (USD) per hectare for full use of prime agricultural land.
It gives support for police or military action against any resistance: "The lessor [FDRE] shall ensure during the period of lease, lessee [Karuturi] shall enjoy peaceful and trouble free possession of the premises and it shall be provided adequate security, free of cost, for carrying out its entire activities in the said premises, against any riot, disturbance or any other turbulent time other than force majeure, as and when requested by the Lessee."
Instead, Karuturi is simply "given the right" to build infrastructure as they want and need.
In other words, what incentives do these Ethiopian officials have to not change the rules midstream or to simply terminate a contract in the future, such as with Karuturi and Saudi Star , when another investor might offer them 10, 20, 50 or 100 times more in a few years? - Home, 18 July 2015 [cached]
Leader Speak: Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi, Founder, Managing Director, Karuturi Global Ltd
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