Covid-19 | Mar 31,2020
A local food processing company has invested 350 million Br to expand a flour processing, pasta and biscuit manufacturing plant in Adama, Oromia Regional State. Set to be built on 20,000Sqm of land, the plant will have the capacity to process 2,440ql of flour and 250ql of macaroni a day.
The biscuit production line, which is going to join the 45 biscuit factories registered by the Food, Beverage & Pharmaceutical Industry Development Institute, is under construction for 150 million Br.
The domestic production of biscuits in the last fiscal year reached an estimated 193,773tn, according to data from the Central Statistical Agency. In the previous fiscal year, the nation imported 1,762tn of biscuits, according to the Ministry of Revenues. Ethiopia has an estimated production capacity of over 2.5 million quintals of biscuits a year.
Established in 2014, Kiya has already completed the construction of the civil work of a plant to process pasta and biscuits. It is currently waiting for foreign currency to procure the machinery. The flour processing line is expected to be operational in a month and a half, while the biscuit production line is waiting for machinery to be imported. The two plants are expected to create jobs for 300 people.
High levels of wheat production in the Regional State has triggered the company to invest in flour, macaroni and biscuit production, according to Elias Masresha, general manager of Kiya Food Complex, which operates under the decade-old company, Sororo General Trading, which also owns Sororo Tour & Travel.
Last month, the company faced a challenge due to the shortage of supplies, wheat price inflation and the liquidity crisis. The Ethiopian Industrial Inputs Development Enterprise has supplied the company with 66,000ql of wheat worth 102 million Br.
Gemechu Desta, an economic development consultant, recommended the company control a cluster of services, including wheat farming, transportation, storage and handling, as well as processing, to ensure supply.
Gemechu also recommended processing nutritious fortified wheat, a dietary staple in Ethiopia, as one step toward expanding access to nutritious food and reducing hunger.
Ethiopia is among the top three wheat producers in Africa, with wheat accounting for 20pc of the nation’s total cereal production. More than 90pc of Ethiopia’s wheat production is grown on small farms without irrigation, most of which are in the highlands, according to the Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.
However, the government spends a considerable amount of foreign currency every year to import wheat. To circumvent this, the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, the Ethiopian Agriculture Transformation Agency, the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Council Secretariat and regional agriculture bureaus have recently launched an initiative to produce wheat in three lowland basins of the country.
The lowland wheat production initiative was launched last year in the Awash, Wabe Shebelle and Omo basins, where wheat production was not previously practised. The initiative will be demonstrated on 1,500ha along the Awash basin, 3,200ha in the Wabe Shebelle basin, and on 660ha along the Omo basin. There is a plan to move to large-scale production in Awash and Wabe Shebelle basins on more than 32,000ha and 3,200ha, respectively.
PUBLISHED ON May 23,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1047]
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