New Delhi (Agencies): Ethiopia has proposed 1.8 million hectares of its farmland to Indian investors that is equivalent to nearly 40 per cent of the total area of the principal grain-growing state of Punjab.

"So far we have transferred 307,000 hectares of land to foreign and domestic investors. Some 79 per cent of this land has been relocated to Indian companies. This land is made available on a 70-year lease," informed visiting Ethiopian Agriculture Minister Tefera Derbew.

"We are now proposing to transfer another 3.6 million hectares of land to investors from overseas. And I am confident that more than half of the 3.6 million hectares land will go to Indians," said Derbew.

The land offered by the East African nation, at the horn of the continent, equals nearly 50 per cent of the cultivable land of Punjab, accounting for 23 per cent of its wheat and 10 per cent of paddy output.

According to the visiting minister, Indian investors have so far committed $4.7 billion investment in Ethiopia and most of it related to the agricultural sector.

He said the investment was going to increase sharply in the coming years with interests arising in mining as well. Indian companies have interests in cotton, palm oil, rubber, oilseeds and horticulture.

Derbew said an Indian company was in the process of getting 100,000 hectares of land for sugarcane production.

The minister said the trade balance would tilt in Ethiopia's favour once the projects materialise. He said there was also scope for Ethiopia to export potassic fertiliser to India.