ETHIOPIA – Tiret Corporate, an Ethiopia based private equity firm, is investing US$1.65 million (47 million Br) in establishing a new dairy processing plant in Amhara Regional State, reports Addis Fortune.

The investment under TZA Dairy & Processing Plc will sit on a 133ha land designated for both dairy cattle rearing and establishment of a dairy processing plant.

According to the project manager, Esayas Zerayakob, TZA Dairy processing plant will have a capacity to process 20,000 litres of pasteurised milk per day while the firm plans to kick off cattle project at 100 heads.

“We are working to build our own herd by using superior sires,” he added

Esayas said that the company has already floated a turnkey-project tender to design, construct, supply and commission a pasteurised milk processing plant.

Tiret said that the firm is currently evaluating the technical documents presented by 27 companies who have expressed interest to the bid.

In addition to its own dairy farm, the company plans to collect 90% of the raw milk from local farmers and cooperative unions within the region in order to meet demand dairy processing plant capacity.

According to Esayas, TZA Dairy will also partner local farmers in a bid to ensure sustainable solutions facing the dairy value chain in the region.

Yohannes Shiferaw, investment expansion head at Debre Berhan Investment Bureau, an investment lobby firm in the region, hailed the investment by Tiret and appealed for more investors to capitalise on agricultural potential in the region.

 “We will facilitate different opportunities for investors, such as duty-free machinery imports for companies that engage in agro-processing,” he added.

However, according to Fikadu, a lecturer at Semera University and a researcher on the dairy industry, the sector has been grappling with handful of challenges ranging from lack of awareness and research in the sector; inadequate and antiquated temperature control systems to sub-standard pasteurisation equipment.

“Milk processing practices in our country follow traditional methods that are more dependent on a pastoralist lifestyle,” he added.

He appealed for the government to intervene and provide long lasting solutions for to the sector.

Tiret has ventured into manufacturing, service, construction and agro-processing industries investments with the new TZA Dairy & Processing plant being the 18 companies operating under the umbrella of Tiret Corporate.

Currently, the company’s capitalisation stands at about US$34.5 million and has more than 11,500 employees operating under its two wings- Tiret Social Development and Tiret Investment.