ETHIOPIA – Kiya, a local food processing company in Ethiopia, operating under Soror General Trading has invested 350 million Br (USS$10.3m) to expand a flour processing, pasta and biscuit manufacturing plant in Adama, Oromia Regional State.

The biscuit production line, which is going to join the 45 biscuit factories registered by the Food, Beverage & Pharmaceutical Industry Development Institute, is under construction for 150 million Br (US$4.4m).

The company has already completed the construction of the pasta and flour processing lines and is waiting to procure machinery for the biscuit production line.

Kiya says that it expects the facilities to be operational in a month and a half, having the capacity to process 2,440ql of flour and 250ql of macaroni per day and expected to create jobs for 300 people.

High levels of wheat production in the Regional State has triggered the company to invest in flour, macaroni and biscuit production, according to Elias Masresha, general manager of Kiya Food Complex.

Last month, the company faced a challenge due to the shortage of supplies, wheat price inflation and the liquidity crisis.

The Ethiopian Industrial Inputs Development Enterprise has supplied the company with 66,000ql of wheat worth 102 million Br (US$3m), reports Addis Fortune.

Ethiopia is among the top three wheat producers in Africa, with wheat accounting for 20pc of the nation’s total cereal production.

More than 90pc of Ethiopia’s wheat production is grown on small farms without irrigation, most of which are in the highlands, according to the Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.

However, the government spends a considerable amount of foreign currency every year to import wheat.

To circumvent this, the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, the Ethiopian Agriculture Transformation Agency, the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Council Secretariat and regional agriculture bureaus have recently launched an initiative to produce wheat in three lowland basins of the country.

The lowland wheat production initiative was launched last year in the Awash, Wabe Shebelle and Omo basins, where wheat production was not previously practised.

The initiative will be demonstrated on 1,500ha along the Awash basin, 3,200ha in the Wabe Shebelle basin, and on 660ha along the Omo basin. There is a plan to move to large-scale production in Awash and Wabe Shebelle basins on more than 32,000ha and 3,200ha, respectively.