Soufflet Malt, the French multinational, on Friday inaugurated its first malt factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at Bole Lemi Industry Zone.
The inauguration of the 60 million Euro factory is attended by Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed, and the French Ambassador to Ethiopia, Rémi Maréchaux.
By sourcing from barley from 50,000 Ethiopian farmers, the factory is expected to produce 60,000 tons of malt and sell to the breweries found in Ethiopia. Prime Minister Abiy said Ethiopian farmers can produce enough barley for the factory and no need to import from abroad the input.
Annually the breweries in Ethiopia have been spending up to 50 million dollars to import malt barley.
Ambassador Rémi Maréchaux on his part indicated that his country is committed to encourage investors to invest in Ethiopia as the two countries are celebrating their 125th anniversary of bilateral relations.
Soufflet Malt Ethiopia, which secured 20 million Euro financing from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank, is a subsidiary of French company Groupe Soufflet.
Soufflet Ethiopia plans to source 100 percent of its barley locally, with 80 percent from smallholder farmers. Currently, about 70 percent of the malt used by Ethiopian brewers is imported. Groupe Soufflet is active in 22 countries in Asia, Europe, and South America.
Currently the brewery industry in Ethiopia is dominated by the French multinational Castel Group, which owns BGI Ethiopia known for its St. George Beer brand.
In addition to Soufflet, another French company, Boortmalt has also entered the Ethiopian market recently and engaed in malting barley.
A few years ago, the formerly state-owned Assela Malt Factory now owned by Oromia farmers union, was the only and the largest malting factory in Ethiopia. The opening of private malting plants began when Dashen Brewery, which is partly owned by the ruling party in Amhara region, opened a new malt factory in Gondar.
Currently in Ethiopia there are a total of four malt Factories of which two are owned by French multinationals.