ETHIOPIA – Golden Africa, a subsidiary of Malaysian Hayel Saeed Anam (HAS) group, has unveiled plans of investing in a new edible oil production plant in Ethiopia.

According to Mr Fouad Hayel, Golden Africa managing director, the oil seeds processing factory will be operational within a two year period with investment creating about 1500 jobs.

Speaking during a meeting with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade and Industry Mrs Fetlework Egziabher, Mr Fuad stressed the firm will leverage on its modern processing technology, financial capacity and well-organized logistics supply chain in the investment, reports New Business Ethiopia.

The investment will come as a major boost to the country’s edible oil sector easing the large dependency on imports which according to Mrs Fetlework account for more than 90% of the total edible oil consumed in Ethiopia.

Mrs Fetlework commended the firm’s strategic investment decision adding that the country has sufficient market for the product locally hence investing in the sector will lead a company to profitability.

Despite Ethiopia’s high potential of growing oilseeds, data reveals that the country imports 350 million metric tons of subsidised palm oil per annum mainly due to challenges in the oil value chain.

According to the Central Statistics Agency of Ethiopia 2016, the country has annual potential of producing more than 784,809 tonnes of oilseeds.

The government’s attempt to capacitate local edible oil producers had seen it impose a ban on edible oil imports by private companies in 2011.

However, the government through the Ministry of Trade & Industry later selected public and private companies granting them permission for importation to cushion the country from shortages.

Golden Africa will join local competitors in the country including Hamaressa Edible Oil S.C, Alle Bejimla and Belayneh Kinde Import & Export who majorly ship and distribute edible oil to the local market to meet the growing demand.

The investment comes at a time when the sector has been recording an upsurge in edible oil processors which currently constitutes of more than 1,000 small and micro oil processing companies and an additional 27 large and medium-sized oil processors.

The Tsehay Farmers’ Cooperative Union, an Ethiopian farmers’ based union, are the recent entrants into the sector through an US$2.46 million (70 million birr) edible oil processing plant in Amhara Regional State.