ETHIOPIA – Boortmalt, world’s leading malting company has commenced operation at its new Birr 2.8 billion (US$71.6m) plant inside the Debre Birhan Industrial Park Zone.

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.

The Belgium headquartered company has revealed that it will source its barley from 40,000 – 50,000 contracted farmers as it is committed to the long-term sustainable business model that benefits the farmers, industry players, and the economy of Ethiopia in general.

“We have estimated that we would need between 40,000 to 50,000 farmers to grow malt barley for us. We are really pushing to increase that supply chain,” said Jurgen Van Der Weide, General Manager of Boortmalt Ethiopia.

To further support the farmers and build their capacity, Boortmalt is providing them with its own improved barley verities and some from its partnering breweries, accompanied with trainings on how to produce them.

“To strengthen our partnerships with the farmers, we have over 50 people in the filed assisting the farmers, training them on applying inputs such as chemicals, etc. and we also assist them on financing,” said Mr. Jurgen.

Smallholder farmers in Ethiopia have been engaged in clustered farming of commercial products such as, malt barley and wheat over the past few year which has led to the increase in domestic sourcing.

“We have estimated that we would need between 40,000 to 50,000 farmers to grow malt barley for us. We are really pushing to increase that supply chain.”

Jurgen Van Der Weide – General Manager of Boortmalt Ethiopia

Currently there are three malt factories supplying the breweries in Ethiopia. As the breweries continue to expand, most of them still depend on imports as the country has not yet reached self-sufficiency levels.

After meeting the current malt demand of breweries in Ethiopia, Boortmalt Ethiopia plans to engage in export.

However, with the current malt barley price, it will not make the factory be competitive in the export market, according to Mr. Jurgen, who hopes that the government will consider addressing the issue in order to sustainably benefit from the whole value chain of the industry, and fully utilize the potential of Ethiopia to stand out as major producer and exporter of malt in the near future.

Following the entry of Bootmalt and Groupe Soufflet a French family-owned business, it is expected that Ethiopia will be able to meet its domestic demand.

Soufflet Group, has kick started test production at its newly built malting plant which will initially produce 60,000 tons of malt and in the longer term it hopes to reach a production capacity of 110,000 tons.

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.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE