Ethiopia to develop national lab, research, training center to boost product quality

ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia is seeking to establish the first national research, laboratory and training centre for dairy, honey, meat and animal feed products in Bishoftu, Oromia Regional State.

The Institute will be the primary centre for research, development and innovations, in addition to having a training centre for companies and individuals engaged in meat, dairy, honey and animal feed production.

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Also, it will have a standard national laboratory testing centre to boost export quality, reports Addis Fortune.

The State Minister for Finance Eyob Tekalignstate, gave the go-ahead for the Urban Development & Construction Ministry to proceed with the construction of the lab who will oversee the contract management of the centre.

“After the construction is completed, we hope it’s going to be the first high-quality centre of its kind.”

Mekonnen Gashu – Deputy Director of Meat & Dairy Industry Development Institute

The construction of the building was initiated five years ago after getting approval from the Office of the Prime Minister.

However, the project could not commence due to delays on land allocation by Oromia Regional State, which was secured in June.

The laboratory and the research centre will be built for the Meat & Dairy Industry Development Institute and will rest on a total area of 17.8ha of land.

“After the construction is completed, we hope it’s going to be the first high-quality centre of its kind,” said Mekonnen Gashu, Deputy Director of Meat & Dairy Industry Development Institute.

So far, only the 3-D design of the centre has been submitted, with the institute planning to float a tender to hire a company for the engineering detail design of the centre.

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According to Wubshet Adugna, owner of Apinec Agro-Industry Plc, which has been in the honey export business to Germany and England, the centre will save them foreign currency they have been spending for tests abroad, since 2009.

“We made different kinds of tests for a single product,” said Wubshet, who is also president of the Ethiopian Honey & Beeswax Producers & Exporters Association that has 57 exporting members. “It costs 40 to 50 euros for a single laboratory test.”

Meanwhile, Ethiopia is set to launch its first ever laboratory for producing microalgae seeds as by-product for the production of food supplements aimed to fight malnutrition among children in the country.

The laboratory worth Birr 8 million (US$227m) is expected to start production in six months-time and will be run by the Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute.

Once operational, it will be able to produce up to 100lt of inocula at a time. The inocula will be used to feed algae ponds, which can produce 200tn of dry spirulina per year, a supplement and ingredient made from blue-green algae.

Micro-algae are used to provide nourishment to humans and animals. They prevent stunted growth, which is a largely irreversible result of chronic under-nutrition that leads to weaker immune systems and diminished cognitive capacity.

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