ETHIOPIA – The Soufflet Group, a French family-owned business focused on collecting and adding value to agricultural raw materials has kick started test production at its newly built malting plant in Ethiopia.

Located at the Debre Birhan Industry Park in Amhara region, the new factory will initially produce 60,000 tons of malt and in the longer term it hopes to reach a production capacity of 110,000 tons.

According to reports by New Business Ethiopia, the company secured €20 million from The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Private Sector Window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) for the establishment of the plant last year.

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

Ethiopia is the largest producer of barley for food and fodder in Africa and the beer market is expanding fast with growth of 15% per year.

However, the supply of local malt is not enough to meet demand. With this plant, Soufflet will develop local malt production and thereby reduce the amount of imports, which currently account for 70% of the market.

To produce 100% of the barley locally, 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).

In 2019 the company supported 15,000 farmers to produce 30,000 tons of barley and will be working with 40,000 farmers by 2020 to produce 80,000 tons of the crop.

 In the longer term, Soufflet Malt Ethiopia hopes to reach a production capacity of 110,000 tons.

The establishment of the malt house is the culmination of the barley industry project, launched in 2017 in Ethiopia, with agricultural trials growing malting barley.

The industrial stage began with the signing of a long-term lease with the IPDC (Industrial Parks Development Corporation) in June 2018 for a plot of land.

The completion of the project comes a year after Meta Abo Brewery, the Ethiopian subsidiary of Diageo company finalized the expansion of its US$14m non-alcoholic beverage factory to produce the first Malta Guinness packed in plastic bottles.

Malta Guinness is Africa’s leading non-alcoholic, adult, premium soft drink. It was launched in Cameroon in 1984 and introduced in Ethiopia in 2013.

Today Malta Guinness is a hugely successful and profitable brand available in 11 Countries i.e. Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Gabon, Togo.

The new plant, located on the premises of the factory has a capacity to produce 32,000 bottles an hour.

The company, which formerly bottled only non-alcoholic beverages in glass containers, introduced the new plastic bottles to increase their reach and for ease of use, according to Sisay Zerihun, corporate relations director of Diageo.

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