Chronic sugar shortage, one of the immediate causes for the recent violent clashes in Ambo that led to loss of lives and damage to property, is to be ameliorated thanks to the Ethiopian Sugar Development Corporation (ESDC) importing this week of 700,000 quintals of the commodity from Algeria and Thailand for a total of close to USD 30.5 million. The consignment is imported through ED&F Man, a British company.
According to Gashaw Aychiluhim, corporate communications executive officer with the corporation, sugar has been distributed to all of the capital’s sub-cities from three warehouses in Addis Ababa.
Meanwhile, regions are accessing sugar produced by Metehara and Wonji Factories already stocked at Adama.
Of the total consignment, some 40,000 quintals are being transported daily from the Port of Djibouti.
According to Gashaw, a ton of sugar was bought for USD 435, excluding transportation cost.
In addition, newly-built Tendaho and Kessem Sugar Factories, among the total eight factories expected to produce around seven million quintals of sugar this Ethiopian budget year, have begun production, the corporation said on Thursday, adding that the expected production “will help to satisfy” the domestic demand for sugar.
The remaining six factories, as scheduled, are expected to begin production as of mid-November.
However, the corporation has repeatedly been criticized for failing to ameliorate the chronic shortage of sugar. The criticism has grown of late due to a controversial attempt at exporting the commodity to Kenya (that later fell through) with local demand still unmet.
However, in a statement issued on Thursday, the corporation appeared to deflect criticisms leveled against it, saying that “extensive activities are on track this year to meet local demand through domestic production”.
The corporation blamed natural phenomena such as El Niño and La Niña that adversely impacted local sugar-cane production over the past couple of years.