ETHIOPIA – Dina Gezahegn Import & Export, Ethiopia’s major importer and exporter of agricultural commodities and meat has invested US$7.1 million to set up separate flour processing and biscuit manufacturing factories in the country.

According to the Addis Fortune, the two factories sit on a 20,000Square metre land in Oromia Regional State, the plants will have a capacity of processing 820tn of flour a day and 1,200Kg of biscuits an hour.

This will be the fourth investment that Dina makes into the food and agriculture sector along with another flour processing plant, a flower farm and a meat processing plant.

Dina has invested US$305,000 in procuring the machinery from Hebei Pingle, a Chinese firm that supplies high capacity flour mill machinery.

The flour processing plant is expected commence its operations in a month and a half time, while the biscuit factory is awaiting machinery imports with the two plants expected to offer 200 employment opportunities.

The company is also in the process of importing machinery for the biscuit factory from Sinobake Group Biscuit & Cookie Machine, also a Chinese firm.

“The company submitted a letter requesting tax exemptions to import the machinery,” Belay Dufera, team leader of investment support and follow at Oromia Investment Bureau, said.

Sinaboke will supply the machinery with a processing capacity of 1200kg of biscuits per hour at US$750,000

The company expects competition in the sector which according to the Ministry of Trade & Industry, Ethiopia has 4461 registered companies manufacturing biscuits cake and bread and another 109 companies in the flour and milling sector.

Dina Gezahegn, the general manager Dina Gezahegn Import & Export has said that in its expansion plan the company wishes to set up pasta and macaroni processing plant to supply the export market.

Habtamu Birhanu (PhD), a lecturer at Addis Ababa University, said that the factory will have a positive contribution to the nation, which is currently importing flour – proposing an investment into wheat farming to ensure sustainability of the raw material.

Ethiopia is one of the largest wheat producers in Sub-Saharan Africa, harvesting over four million tonnes of wheat annually with the country’s wheat demand projected to grow by 4.2pc this year.

The nation’s wheat consumption stood at 6.4 million tonnes in 2017, while the deficit from production was filled by imports.