13 March 2019, Addis Ababa –Soufflet, a leading global maltery based in France, laid a cornerstone for its upcoming factory in Bole Lemi II Industrial Park just outside of Addis Ababa. The ceremony took place in the presence of Soufflet’s senior leadership, officials from the Government of Ethiopia (GoE), and the Ambassador of France to Ethiopia. This ceremony followed a land lease agreement signing in June 2018 between the company, the Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC), Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), and Ethiopia Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA).
Jean-Michel Soufflet, Chairman of the Executive Board of Group Soufflet, kicked off the afternoon’s remarks by describing the growth of the company from a family-owned business in a small town in France to an enterprise with 27 malting plants around the world. This factory would be its first investment in Ethiopia, Mr. Soufflet stated.
The success of the malting plant would have numerous economic benefits for Ethiopia, said Khalid Bomba, CEO of the ATA. “Chief among these will be the improved livelihoods of 40,000 smallholder farmers set to supply the factory with raw barley, and the enormous savings of foreign currency that would result from import substitution of malt,” he noted.
Hana Araya-Selassie, Deputy Commissioner of the EIC, affirmed the GoE’s commitment to ensuring the success of the malting facility by facilitating smooth collaboration between all stakeholders. Closing off the remarks, Frédéric Bontemps, the Ambassador of France to Ethiopia, expressed his confidence that the venture would be a win-win for Soufflet, France, and Ethiopia.
The ceremony was concluded with an unveiling of the factory’s foundation stone by the dignitaries.
The plant is expected to begin its first phase of operations in 2020 with the production of 60,000 metric tons of malt annually. In the longer term, Soufflet Malt Ethiopia hopes to reach a production capacity of 110,000 tons annually. It was also highlighted that the need for all parties concerned to ensure that the volume and quality of raw materials demanded by the factory will be met.
Ethiopia is the largest producer of barley for food and fodder in Africa and the beer market is expanding fast with growth of 15% per year. However, the supply of local malt is not enough to meet demand. Once completed, the plant, will enhance the domestic malt production and will also see the reduction of imported barley which currently accounts for 70% of the market.