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Haile and Alem farm loses 28 mln birr for vandalism
Haile Gebreselassie

Haile and Alem farm loses 28 mln birr for vandalism

COVID-19 costs Marathon Motors 200 million birr in sales revenue

Haile and Alem International Coffee Farm in Sheka Zone, Tepi town, Southern Regional State, has suffered a property loss of more than 28 million birr due to vandalism.

The company co-owned by retired track star Haile Gebreselassie and his wife owns a coffee plantation spanning on 1,100 hectares of land in Yeppo locality. From the farm, the company produces certified organic coffee and exports specialized Haile Coffee.

Haile Gebreselassie told The Reporter that his company tractors and other properties were burnt down to ashes. “There is no peace and stability around Tepi area. The locality is administered by gangsters. When workers march to work armed men fire at them. So we are unable to deploy workers in the coffee farm to pick coffee beans. In the last two years we could not harvest coffee,” Haile told The Reporter. “Only due to the vandalism we have lost more than 28 million birr, according to government estimators,” Haile said.

Haile Agriculture, one of the subsidiary companies under Haile and Alem International, employs 600 workers on the coffee farm. But the number exceeds more than 1000 during harvest season.

“It should not be only the government but the local community too should realize the importance of peace and stability in fostering developing and creating job opportunities. When one company ceases production it will negatively affects every household in the area,” Haile said. Haile called on the government to ensure law and order in various parts of the country.

He also stated that armed groups to lay down arms and engaged in development work. “You cannot liberate your people by war. We can see what is happing in Syria, Yemen and Libya. Did they liberate their people? No they did not in fact they are destroying their countries. You can liberate your people from poverty by working hard. I call up on armed groups in the bush to lay down their arms and start farming,” he said.

In a related news, one of his companies Marathon Motors which imports and assembles Hyundai vehicles has lost more than 200 million birr in sales revenue due to the impacts of the COVID-19 that brought down the manufacturing industry to its knees.

Haile has spent 250 million dollars on the car assembly plant. “The Marathon Motors car assembly plant has the capacity to assemble 36 cars per day and 10,000 per year. We are now operating five percent of our capacity. We assemble one car per day now. We have lost more than 200 million birr in sales revenue,” Haile said.

Haile Hospitality Group owns six resort hotels in different regional towns in Zeway, Shashemene, Hawassa, Gondar and Arba Minch towns. According to Haile in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak the six hotels have zero occupancy rate. “We do not have room guests. Residents of the towns are in lockdown. We have 1400 employees and we are paying salaries and covering others expenses. We do not intend to lay off our employees. Despite the financial crisis we are determined to keep our staff,” Haile said.

Haile Resorts has built the seventh hotel in Adama town and was scheduled for inauguration on May1. “We have started hiring 300 people. But we have suspended that and postponed the opening,” Haile said.

The investment Group, Haile and Alem International LC, has more than 3000 employees. “My plan was to employee 10,000 people in few years’ time. But with the current crisis I doubt that,” Haile said.