ETHIOPIA: Bad weather last year hit production enough to cause sugar shortage

Published: 10/12/2017, 4:43:10 PM

Ethiopian Sugar Corporation revealed on Thursday that the current sugar shortage witnessed in the capital Addis Ababa and other parts of the country is attributed to bad weather conditions that wreaked havoc on the country's sugar production last year, according to China's Xinhua news agency.

Gashaw Aychlum, Corporation's public relations head, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview, that Ethiopia had an initial plan to produce some 5 million quintals of sugar during the last 2016/17 Ethiopian fiscal year. However, as bad weather conditions, mainly unprecedented rains, affected the production of some of the country's sugar plants, the actual production was reduced to 3.5 million quintals.

The shortage forced the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, a government entity established to regulate Ethiopia's sugar sector, to provide the product only up to the end of August, which resulted to total supply termination for industries in the country and halved sugar supply to the general public.

According to the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation officials, the east African country is currently implementing both short term and long term solutions to solve the ensuing sugar shortage, which includes importing sugar from abroad.

Gashaw, who stressed the ongoing sugar shortage to be solved shortly, revealed that the Ethiopian government has already purchased some 700,000 quintals of sugar from Algeria and Thailand in a bid to meet local sugar demands.

The Ethiopian Sugar Corporation further expressed the country's aspiration that two sugar factories, which will commence production within the coming months, will permanently solve the ongoing sugar shortage together with the already existing 6 sugar plants.

The corporation further revealed the plan to produce in excess of 7 million quintals of sugar during the just started 2017/18 Ethiopian fiscal year.

Sugar production sector is amongst of the priority sectors that the Ethiopian government outlined as part of its first and second five-year Growth and Transformation Plans (GTP I and GTP II). Ethiopia is presently implementing its second five-year national plan, GTP II, effective from 2015 to 2020.