ETHIOPIA – Kessem Sugar Development Factory is to commence production of sugar with a start-up crushing capacity of 3,500tn of sugarcane per day, following the completion of the testing of machinery.

The factory is located in the Afar Regional State, in Fentallie and Dulecaha Weredas, 50 kilometres away from Metehara Sugar Factory’s 20,000ha of land for sugarcane cultivation.

Kesem was part of the expansion project of Metehara Sugar Factory. However, after the establishment of the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, a decision was taken for it to become an independent project.

The factory will produce 153,000tn of sugar and 12,500 cubic metres of ethanol a year once it begins production. When it reaches its maximum crushing capacity of 10,000tn of cane a day, the factory will produce 260,000tn of sugar and 30,000 cubic metres of ethanol annually.

The construction of the plant was undertaken by a Chinese state owned construction company, China National Complete plant import & export corporation (COMPLANT) , after the Metal and Engineering Corporation (Metec) failed to deliver, because it could not handle the work load, on top of its engagement with Kuraz sugar development project, which has five factories, said Zemedkun Tekele, corporate communications director of the sugar corporation.

The country’s demand for sugar is estimated to be five million tonnes annually, whereas existing factories produce only three million tonnes, said GashawAycheluhem, team leader of media relations at the Sugar Corporations’ communication directorate.

The currently operating sugar factories, which are owned by the Sugar Corporation, are Wenji-Shoa, Finchaa, and Metehara. The biggest sugar factory with the largest production capacity currently is Wenji-Shoa sugar factory producing 174,946tn of sugar per year.

Tendaho Sugar Factory,yet to be completed, will be the largest of all with a production capacity into 619,000tn of sugar and 63,000 cubic metres of ethanol annually.

When ongoing projects are completed, there will be 10 state-owned sugar factories. Of these, Arjo Dedessa, with a crushing capacity of 8,000tn of sugar cane, has already begun production.

Hiber Sugar S.C. has not yet entered into production with its shareholders being divided on its continuation and liquidation.

There are no privately owned sugar factories in the country.

May 4, 2015;