Ethiopia’s sugar production could grow five-fold in a year
Addis Ababa, 21 May 2014 (WIC) – Ethiopia’s massive investment in sugar development projects across the country could see the nation produce 1.58 million tons of sugar annually, five times its current output, by mid 2015.
The expected output is 70 percent of the government’s plan as stated under the five-year growth and transformation plan (GTP), which set out to produce 2.25 million tons of sugar per annum.
The government expects at least seven of the ten sugar manufacturing plants currently underway in five regional states to be completed by the end of the plan period (mid 2015).
The boost in sugar production could come as early as this month when the first phase of Tendaho sugar factory which has the capacity to crush 13,000 tons of cane per day (tcd) begins operation.
“Dry testing has been conducted and we expect the factory to begin crushing before the end of this month,” Shiferaw Jarso, Ethiopian Sugar Corporation (ESC) director general with a ministerial portfolio, said today at a press conference.
At full capacity, Tendaho factory will crush 26,000 tons of cane per day (tcd) and produce more than 619, 000 tons of sugar annually, making it the biggest sugar factory in the country.
Launched in 2006, the Tendaho project, which is being constructed by Overseas Infrastructure Alliance of India, predates the establishment of ESC and has been marred by delays.
Next in line is the Kuraz I sugar factory, one of the five sugar factories being built in South Omo Zone (SNNP region) with a combined annual production capacity of more than 1.9 million tons of sugar.
According to Shiferaw, Kuraz I, which will have 12,000 tcd crushing capacity, is expected to be completed in September 2014. Factory plant erection is being carried out by the Metal and Engineering Corporation (MetEC).
ESC also expects the year 2014 to witness the completion of Kessem sugar factory, a plant with an annual sugar production capacity of 260,000 tons at full capacity. The sugar plant is being built in Fentalle and Dulecha weredas of Afar regional state by China Complant Group Inc.
“The project is going very well and it is on schedule. We are confident that the plant will be completed in November,” Shiferaw said.
Two of the three sugar projects in Tana-Beles sugar development projects each with 12,000 tcd are expected to follow during the first months of 2015, according to ESC’s director general.
The remaining sugar development projects including Welkait sugar factory in Tigray region is expected to go operational during the GTP II period. The project received a 500 million dollars financial boost from China during the Chinese premier’s recent visit to Ethiopia.
“Construction of the plant will commence in June  and it is expected to be completed in 24 months,” Shiefraw told journalists.
Currently, Ethiopia produces some 300,000 tons of sugar per annum while the demand for sugar stands at around 500,000 tons. The country’s sugar production is expected to not only satisfy domestic demand but will be an export commodity in the not-so-distant future.
At full capacity, the entire sugar development projects including those expected to roll out during the GTP II period is estimated to reach 4 million tons of sugar per annum.
With improved productivity the massive goal can be achieved, the director general believes.
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