ETHIOPIA – A company that has been involved in farming and imports and exports, Gonde Import & Export Enterprise, plans to commission a tomato processing plant in Adama (Nazareth), 100Km South-west of Addis Ababa.

According to Addis Fortune, the new plant, expected to start operations by mid 2018, will have a production capacity of 5000 kg of tomatoes an hour.

It will be built at the cost of 100 million Br (US$3.7 million).

Gonde has already constructed the factory and is currently waiting to commission the machinery, which will be imported from Italy.

The company has secured financing from the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE) to import the machinery.

It is awaiting loan disbursement in foreign currency for importation of the machines.

The plant was originally designed for a flour and pasta manufacturing factory, but the company diverted to tomato processing due to shortages of tomatoes in the market.

“We engaged in harvesting vegetables so that we can sustainably supply the inputs, and the unavailability of tomato paste processing companies led us to divert to agro-processing,” said Bezu Beyen, CEO of Gonde.

The Company has a 100ha vegetable farm in Arsi, Oromia Regional State, from where it exports vegetables to France and Israel.

Gonde’s investment will add to the two tomato paste processing plants in Ethiopia: Melge Wendo Food Processing Factory and Upper Awash Agro Industry Enterprise.

Upper Awash Agro Industry, established in 1979 was sold to Midroc by the government during privatization.

It produces the Merti brand of tomato paste and is the biggest in the country.

Gonde expects to create upto 350 jobs at the tomato factory.