French company Groupe Soufflet has started operating its malt factory located in the Debre Berhan Industrial Park. The factory received 20 million USD in financing from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which is a part of the World Bank Group.
This week the company plans on starting production testing. According to a 2018 study, Ethiopia’s demand for malt is close to 50,000 tons a year but only half that amount is covered domestically.
When it goes fully operational the company is expected produce 60,000 tons of malt barley per year and reduce the amount that Ethiopian breweries import from abroad with possible expansions into export activities in the long run.
Aside from malt production Groupe Soufflet is also going to retain malt barley farmers through contracts to help them consistently sell their produce. According to the same 2018 study, contracted farmers were found to have at least a 10 percent price advantage over non-contracted farmers.
The company has already created production supply chains for over 25,000 farmers with another 15,000 expected to join the fray in the near future and eventually shifting to cluster farming at a commercial scale.