Ethiopia To Scrap Sugar Imports Within 5 Years

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News in brief: Ethiopia aims to achieve self-sufficiency in sugar production within five years by increasing annual production from 397,000 tons to 1.4 million tons. The country is working on fixing declining sugarcane production, reducing production costs, and adding more irrigation infrastructure to match domestic demand and potentially become one of the top ten sugar exporting countries by 2025.

Ethiopia is working on becoming self-sufficient in sugar production within five years. According to the Ethiopian Sugar Industry Group, there are already ongoing efforts to source all its sugar needs locally.

According to the US Foreign Agricultural Service, global sugar production should reach 183.2 million tons in 20222/2023. It also expects consumption to rise as markets are expanding in countries like China, Indonesia and Russia.

Efforts to increase local sugar production in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian government is planning on raising its production from its current annual 397,000 tons to 1.4 million tons in five years, according to Ethiopia News Agency. To do so, the country first reestablished the industry group in March 2022.

Reta Demeke, Public Relations and Participation Head at the Ethiopian Sugar Industry Group, said that local production has not matched demand, which keeps growing. Part of their efforts include identifying and fixing causes of declining sugarcane production and rise in production costs.

In addition, the group is adding more irrigation infrastructure for new sugar factories. It wants to match domestic demand to production as early as 2025 and replace sugar imports.

Raw sugar is a product of refined sugarcane. South Africa is the largest producer of the crop on the continent and exported 600,000 tons of sugar in 2021. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that in Africa, sugarcane grows best in east and south, of which Ethiopia is a northeastern country. So, sugarcane production may not be its worry but refining the crop could be.

Demeke said that the eight sugar factories in Ethiopia are bearing the brunt of meeting the production demand of nearly 1.4 million tons per year. If the country clocks its production goals, and the current top exporters don’t increase their production, it could burst into the list of top ten sugar exporting countries by 2025.

However, Ethiopia’s goal is still well shy of giants like Mexico, Australia, India, Thailand, and Brazil. Although, the government would be satisfied with removing sugar from its imports bill at least.

Obinna Onwuasoanya
Obinna Onwuasoanya
Obinna Onwuasoanya is a tech reporter of over five years, fiction writer, SEO expert and an editor. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria, and was previously shortlisted for the Writivism Short Story Prize 2018.


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