Tendaho Sugar Factory has cut its sugar production. As Weyo Roba, CEO of the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, told Capital, the factory failed to produce sugar because of deterioration and shortage of sugarcane and drought in the area which began in 2008 EC.
The factory is located 670 km from Addis Ababa in Afar region. It is 300km from the Port of Djibouti. There are 41,176hct of total cultivation land, 22,835hct of land is irrigated and 17,683hct of land is covered with sugarcane.
According to Weyo, the factory is the process of leasing 5,000 hectares of farmland within its territory to cultivate wheat. It is mainly aimed at protecting productive land from weeds, and will also play a significant role in sustaining the market.
As Weyo stated, beside the cultivation of sugarcane, the violence in the area and disputes among people have contributed to failed production.
In order to help the local community benefit from development, the factory is in the processes of giving away 6,000 hectares of its sugarcane farming land to the residents. This land is 76km from the factory, however we are expecting the regional government to give us alternative land near the factory, said Weyo.
As usual the corporation will transfer the machines and its employees to other sugar factories until the factory starts operating.
The factory may start its production within the next two years if the cropped sugarcane ripens.
The factory`s construction began in 2005/2006. It was built by the Indian OIA (Overseas Infrastructure Alliance) company. The first phase of the factory began trial production in 2014. Within full production capacity it was expected to produce 13,000 tons of sugarcane per day and is expected to produce about 300,000 tons of sugar a year and generate 60 megawatts of electricity to produce 27 million liters of ethanol. In 2017 The Public Enterprises Affairs Standing Committee of the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) came to visit and urged management to start the factory.
Ethiopia has a favorable climate for sugar cane development. Ethiopia has 1.4 million hectares of land favorable to sugar production 1,620 quintals of sugarcane per hectare every 15 months. Annual sugar demand per individual is estimated at 10 kg and current supply per individual stands at 7 kg while the country imports up to 200,000 tons of sugar per year.
Currently there are seven sugar factories operating in the country. The government is in processes of privatizing sugar factories starting from 2020. Tendaho is expected to be one of the six sugar factories the government has planned to privatize in the first quarter of 2020.