Tana-Beles sugar project ‘on schedule’

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Addis Ababa, 26 June 2014 (WIC) – Tana Beles sugar development project is progressing as per the schedule, the project consultant said.

Hassen Abdu (Eng.), representative of Acute Engineering, a local consulting firm, told WIC that civil works has been completed for two of the three sugar factories planned to be built under the Tana-Beles Sugar Development Project.

Ethiopian Sugar Corporation (ESC) expects the two sugar factories each with the capacity to crush 12,000 tcd (tons of cane per day) to go operational during the first months of 2015. The third factory is slated to go operational in the second phase of the Growth and Transformation Plan period (GTP II).

Adgeh Mekuria, deputy director general of the project, confirmed to WIC that the crushing plants will undergo testing in 12 months.

“We expect the factories to start producing sugar next year [Ethiopian calendar],” Adgeh said.

The crushing plants, currently under construction, are located in Amhara region some 576 km north of Addis Ababa. The project will cultivate 75 thousand hectares of land with sugarcane plantations. A portion of the plantation will be within the Benishangul Gumuz region.

At full capacity, the three sugar factories are expected to produce 726 thousand tons of sugar and 62.4 mln liters of ethanol from cane by-products.

The project will also offer seasonal and permanent job opportunities to over 69 thousand people, Adgeh said.

Currently, Ethiopia produces some 300,000 tons of sugar per annum while the demand for sugar stands at around 500,000 tons.

Ethiopia’s massive investment in sugar development projects across the country could see the nation produce 1.58 million tons of sugar annually by mid 2015, according to announcements made by the ESC in May this year.