ETHIOPIA – A local Ethiopian investment firm, Gold Group has built two water bottling plants in separate parts of Oromia Regional State, Southern Ethiopia worth 600 million Br (US$20m) investment.

Gold Group has set up the Gold Still Water Bottling Plant at the Taxeq Industry Zone in Burayu in Oromia Regional State and Gold Sparkling Water Plant in Ambo town in Oromia Regional State, 124Km from the capital.

The construction of Gold Still, which rests on 30,000Sqm of land, was started four years ago. The plant has a production capacity of bottling 30,000 water bottles in 330ml, one litre, two-litre and 20-litre bottles an hour

It has two production lines, which carry out plastic bottle forming, filling and packaging activities and it is expected to join the market in three weeks.

On the other hand, Gold Sparkling Water Plant resting on two hectares of land will have a production capacity of 24,000lt of sparkling water an hour and is expected to enter the market after six months with a half-litre bottle.

For both plants, the company uses spring water.

“Our target market is local consumers, and we have a plan to increase the availability of the product by offering door to door service to our customers,” said Biruk Adugna, managing director of Gold.

Once both plants become operational, they are expected to create over 400 jobs.

The two plants were constructed by Gold Group Construction, a construction firm under Gold Group. For the Gold Still plant, the company imported ASG and Tecklong machinery from China while Gold Sparkling plant received Krones machinery from Germany.

Gold Group, plans to export the product to East African countries, according to Sisay Mengesha, marketing and sales manager at Gold Group.

The brand will be joining the growing market that now has 87 water bottling companies operating in the country and that produces more than 3.5 billion litres of water a year. These companies supply just five percent of national consumption, while the nation has a population above 100 million.

Developments in Ethiopia’s Water Bottling Sector

In July, the manufacturers of bottled water in Ethiopia resolved to forego the use of neck seals, a decision aimed at promoting a sustainable environment by reducing plastic waste.

The Ethiopian Bottled Water & Soft Drinks Manufacturing Industries Association said that the move, which took effect 23rd July 2019, is also aimed at saving foreign currency in addition to curtailing the negative impact of plastic on the environment.

According to the Association’s chair, Getnet Belay, the decision was backed by a detailed study on the effect of neck seal packaging conducted by the association, bottlers, the Environment & Climate Change Commission and consumers.

The study focused on the health, economic and environmental issues arising from the use of neck seals, reports Addis Fortune.

The decision has also received approval from the Food & Drugs Administration (FDA), the Food, Beverage & Pharmaceutical Industry Development Institute, the Ministry of Trade & Industry and the Ethiopian Standardization Agency (ESA).