March 2 , 2019
By NOEL MINWAGAW ( FORTUNE STAFF WRITERS )
Two young associations, one representing bottled waters and soft drinks manufacturers, and the other fruits and vegetable processors, merged late last month.
The new Ethiopian Bottled Water, Soft Drinks, Fruits & Vegetables Manufacturing Industries Association will have 89 members.
The decision was made at an emergency meeting by the general assembly of the Ethiopian Bottled Water & Soft Drink Manufacturing Industries Association on February 28, 2019. Held after an initiative by the Ethiopian Fruits & Vegetables Processors Association for a merger, the assembly voiced their thoughts on the matter and passed the merger proposal with no objections and four abstentions.
The Bottled Water & Soft Drink Manufacturers Association was established on April 3, 2018, with 33 members, which grew to a 76-member organisation. The Fruits & Vegetables Processors Association was older, established some two years ago with 13 members.
“We decided to merge because their goals are not that different from that of ours given that both associations represent organisations that produce non-alcoholic drinks,” said Gebeyaw Chekol, CEO of Fruits & Vegetables Processors Association.
“They also have more members and can share the burden of running an association far better than we could. It also gives us more leverage in negotiations with the government.”
There are plans to strengthen membership through future mergers since the Bottled Water & Soft Drink Manufacturers Association has received similar offers from other associations. There are also talks with associations in other African countries to establish a continental one.
“We believed that the best choice was this merger given that they produce non-alcoholic drinks like us,” said Getnet Belay, president of Bottled Water & Soft Drink Manufacturers Association. “But there is a need to have a strong organisation that can represent Ethiopia’s producers.”
The move was seconded by Endalkachew Sime, secretary general of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations, who stressed that there is power in numbers.
"When sectoral associations with similar value chains and target markets merge, they can make their voices better heard by the government and development partners,” he said.
The same meeting that led to the merger also saw the unanimous vote of members of the Bottled Water & Soft Drink Manufacturers Association to cease using plastic seals on water bottles.
They were deemed bad for the environment, add cost to production and redundant as far as securing the water bottles is concerned. Neither national nor international laws make the use of such seals on water bottles mandatory.
PUBLISHED ON Mar 02,2019 [ VOL 19 , NO 983]
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