ETHIOPIA – Ethiopian agro-allied company, Yhaenu Plc has diversified its operations, venturing into production of packaging materials.

The move, according to reports by Addis Fortune was triggered by the rise in local demand of packaging materials following increased investments and projects in the manufacturing sector.

To this end, the company has invested close to Br 121 million (US$3.15m) in the establishment of a packaging making plant.

The factory which is set to commence operations this month, will produce corrugated carton boxes mainly to be used for food products as well as paper packaging, boxes, containers and wrapping.

Resting on 6,200Sqm of land, the plant is expected to produce 31.7tn of carton packaging a day by operating around the clock in three shifts.

“We plan to operate with 60pc of our capacity at least for half a year since the employees are new to the industry,” said Bonsa Mamo, general manager at Yhaenu Plc. “After that, we’ll start production at full capacity.”

So far, the factory has hired 300 people, of which 88 of them are professional staff and the rest will work as blue-collar labourers operating the corrugation, slitting, printing, slotting, folding and packing processes.

Construction of the factory started over two years ago and has been fitted with machinery from China at a cost of a little over US$700,000.

The imported hardware includes plates, a sticking machine, cutters, a corrugation machine, as well as packaging machinery.

“We plan to operate with 60% of our capacity at least for half a year since the employees are new to the industry. After that, we’ll start production at full capacity.”

General manager at Yhaenu Plc – Bonsa Mamo

To feed the plant, the company will import raw materials such as kraft liner, test liner, and fluting from European, South Africa, the United States and Brazil. Raw materials such as adhesives and printing ink will be sourced from the domestic market.

Yhaenu was established in 2003 by four visionary businessmen with paid up capital of Birr 1 million (US$26,000) which was later raised to Birr 37 million (US$964,000) in 2013.

The company undertakes export of oilseeds and pulses such as sesame seeds, niger seeds, lentils and coffee. In addition, it owns the five-star South Star International Hotel and offers dry transport services to and from ports with a fleet of over 15 trucks.

With the new investment, the multisectoral company joins the 198 packaging material manufacturing factories in the country with 20 of them producing carton packaging.

Recently, Ethiopian coffee processing and brewing company, Haro Coffee, invested Birr 20 million (US$521,000) in development of a plant aimed to produce disposable food and beverage packaging.

The facility, resting on 650Sqm piece of land is currently under construction and is expected to be operational before the end of the year, creating job opportunities for 30 individuals.

Some of the products to be made at the plant will include paper cups, sugar sticks, drinking straws, bamboo stir sticks, and paper bags for takeaway service.

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