Ethiopia: Projecting Technology-Based Change in Sugar Supply

12.08.2016

Sugar sector is one of the major focus area that would play important role in the forthcoming political economy of the country.

Currently, industrial development becomes an important component and the key direction of the government to shift from agriculture-led to industry-led economy. Thus, to hasten the development of the industry sector, the need for advanced technologies is very crucial. Recently, the Ministry of Science and Technology has been developing a national technology road-map for about 17 main sectors. The main benefit of technology road-map is to provide technology alternatives and information to reach at better technology investment decisions.

As a component sector for the Ethiopian technology road-map, the Sugar sector is one of the major focus area that would play important role in the forthcoming political economy of the country.

The Ethiopian Herald met the Sugar Agronomy Senior Expert Tadese Negi to briefly discuss on the role of technology development for the sugar manufacturing sector.

Briefing the background of the sugar industry in Ethiopia, Tadese stated that the sugar manufacturing in Ethiopia had been started in 1950's by a Dutch company known as Handles-Vereening at Wonji and then expanded to Metahara in early 1960's. Latterly, the third sugar factory established at Finchaa in 1990's. At the present time, the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation administers six sugar factories namely Wonji-Shoa, Metahara, Finchaa, Tendaho, Arjo-Dedessa and Kessem; and nine sugar development projects at Kuraz, Tana Beles, and Welkayit.

Regarding the sugar productivity, Tadese explained that the actual sugarcane plantations has covered an area of 98,986 hectares and could produce about 400,000 tons of sugar and 25,388 metric cube of ethanol per year. Up on the completion of the new sugar development projects, the country will have a potential of producing 4.6 million tons of sugar and 31,341 metric cube of ethanol per year, and the area under sugarcane cultivation will rise to about 400,000 hectares.

According to him, though the local sugar supply in 2014/15 was 0.65 million, it couldn't satisfy the demand, and additional sugar was imported annually to fill up the deficit.


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