French Malteries Soufflet cuts ribbon to its first African malting house in Ethiopia

ETHIOPIA – The Soufflet Group, a French agri-food company, through its malting division, Malteries Soufflet, has officially launched its new processing factory in Ethiopia.

Construction of the plant started in March 2019, with its first production test undertaken in the beginning of the year, and is now in continuous production.

The IFC, a subsidiary of the World Bank, was the financial partner in the industrial project and continues to support the group in the development of barley cultivation via the NGO EUCORD (European Cooperative for Rural Development).

The new Addis Ababa processing facility is the group’s 28th malt house globally and the first in Africa.

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This ambitious project is fully in line with Malteries Soufflet’s strategy to develop activities outside Europe, which already include Brazil, Argentina and India.

Located on 10 hectares in the suburb of Addis Ababa, Soufflet Malt Ethiopia enjoys a strategic location, close to barley crops.

“40,000 farmers will supply our factory with 80,000 tonnes of barley per year. Our support will thus improve farm yields and connect farmers to the market, which will have a large-scale impact on local communities.”

Christophe Passelande – Chief Executive Officer of the Soufflet Group

Equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure, the malt house aims to produce 60,000 tonnes in the first year and ultimately hopes to achieve a production capacity of 110,000 tonnes per year.

With this establishment, the Soufflet Group is committed to an import substitution project across the entire value chain as the barley used is grown locally and the malt is sold directly to local brewers.

This will significantly reduce imports, which currently represent 70% of the market.

Ethiopia is the largest producer of food and feed barley in Africa and the beer market is growing by 15% each year.

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However, the local supply of malt does not meet demand as in 2018, the beer sector imported 50 million euros of malt.

Malteries Soufflet ropes in locals in the project

The greenfield investment is aimed to modernize Ethiopia’s malt supply chain and boost local production of the key beer ingredient.

To produce 100% of the barley locally intended for malting, the Group is reinforcing the agricultural, technical and commercial development of the regions to the south of Addis Ababa and Shewas (west, south-west and north of the capital).

Malteries Soufflet practices this development model in the local sector in each of its locations around the world.

According to the company, a team of forty-five agronomic and sales advisers and technicians supports farmers and aggregators in varietal selection and agronomy, seed multiplication and crop management.

This team brings together Malteries Soufflet experts, managers of local collection centers and the partner NGO EUCORD.

“40,000 farmers will supply our factory with 80,000 tonnes of barley per year. Our support will thus improve farm yields and connect farmers to the market, which will have a large-scale impact on local communities,” said Christophe Passelande, Chief Executive Officer of the Soufflet Group.

The new factory has also availed direct employment opportunities of 100 people in the country, with 45 working on the development of the barley sector, 35manage the operation of the plant and silos, and 20 occupy administrative functions.

In addition, this new establishment has led to the creation of more than 200 indirect jobs, particularly in rural areas to ensure quality control of barley as well as handling.

Malteries Soufflet will be operating alongside Boortmalt, world’s leading malting company, who has also set base in the Ethiopian economy with the opening of a new Birr 2.8 billion (US$71.6m) plant.

The factory having a processing capacity of 60,000 tons of malt per annum is seeking to quench the thirst of the 14 Ethiopian breweries whose demand stands at around 170,000 tons per year.

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