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A sugar shortage hit major manufacturing industries, including soft drink manufacturers after two of the nation’s three sugar factories ceased production of sugar due to mechanical and sugar cane failure. Wonji Shoa and Finchaa Sugar factories stopped production slashing the quotas of manufacturing industries by two thirds forcing them to stop or minimize production significantly.
Sources told Capital that, machines at Wonji Shoa Sugar Factory were broken and are currently under maintenance. The other sugar factory Finchaa, also faced a crop failure, forcing the factory to stop production.
Soft drink companies are also slashing working hours as the corporation is not providing them with enough sugar for production.
Sources at one of the soft drink companies told Capital that their company is reviewing a plan to lay off some of their employees if the problem persists.
The country has faced a shortage of sugar from time to time. The shortages have led to the price of sugar increasing over the limit set by the Sugar Corporation in recent years.
The three state-owned sugar factories Wonji Shoa, Metehara and Finchaa produce 2.8 million quintals of sugar per annum, while the demand has reached 4.6 million quintals per year.
However, as part of the five year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) 12 new factories are to be constructed making the country a sugar exporting state.
Ethiopia expects seven of the sugar factories to start operating by end of 2015.
The Sugar Corporation said that once commissioned the seven factories will significantly boost the country’s sugar production capacity to 1.58 million tons – a five-fold increase. This is however lower than the 2.25 million tons the country would have produced if all 10 sugar factories came into operation.
Sugar production has been one of the cornerstones of the government’s plan to increase the country’s competitive advantage in agro-processing sub-sector.
The factories that are expected to be fully operational by the end of next year are Tendaho – 1 and 2, Omo-Kuraz-1, Kesem, two of the Tana Beles factories and Arjo- Dedesa.