By Andualem Sisay Gessesse – Boortmalt, the French international malt factory operating in five continents with 27 plants, says it has plans to double its current barley malt out growers from 20,000 to 40,000 and 50,000.
“The impact we on the country Ethiopia is quite large. Currently we are using around 20,000 contracted farmers, which we are planning to increase drastically. We have estimated that we would need between 40,000 to 50,000 farmers to grow malt barley for us. We are really pushing to increase that supply chain,” said Jurgen Van Der Weide, General Manager of Boortmalt Ethiopia.
In an exclusive interview with NewBusinessEthiopia.com, the country manager of Boortmalt indicated that the company is committed for long term sustainable business model that benefits the farmers, industry players, and the economy of Ethiopia in general.
Boortmalt, the new entrant to Ethiopian malt industry, began producing malt last week with a capacity of 60,000 tons per year in its new factor in Debre Birhan Industry Zone. After meeting the current malt demand of breweries in Ethiopia, which is around 170,000 tons per year, Boortmalt Ethiopia plans to engage in export.
Meanwhile the current malt barley price will not make the factory in Ethiopia competitive in the export market, according to Mr. Jurgen Van Der Weide, who hopes that the government will consider addressing the issue in order to sustainably benefit from the whole value chain of the industry, and fully utilize the potential of Ethiopia to stand out as major producer and exporter of malt in the near future.
“The only problem we face a little bit is that the pricing is increased thus far that internationally for us becoming more and more hard to become competitive. Setting that aside I still truly believe that if we can increase the malt barley production in Ethiopia, we will also be able to even that out to a level it will benefit the full supply chain, ” he said.
Boortmalt at the moment is providing its own barley verities with trainings and also using verities needed by the breweries. “To strengthen our partnerships with the farmers, we have over 50 people in the filed assisting the farmers, training them on applying inputs such as chemicals, etc. and we also assist them on financing,” said Mr. Jurgen Van Der Weide.
Smallholder farmers in Ethiopia have been engaged in clustered farming of commercial products such as, malt barley and wheat over the past few year. Reports show that after a couple of the major breweries mainly Diageo and Heineken, have begun supplying their malt barley varieties to the smallholder farmers who are organized in clustered farming and cooperatives, the volume of domestic sourcing of malt by the breweries in Ethiopia has been increasing.
For producing 60,000 tons of malt per year, the new factor of Boortmalt needs 75,000 to 80,000 tons of barley per year. Boortmalt is the leading malt factory in the world with production capacity of 3 million tons of malt per year for various breweries.
In Ethiopia currently there are three malt factories supplying the breweries in Ethiopia. As the breweries continue to expand, most of them still import malt as the country has not yet self-contained producing enough for the breweries.
Following the entry of Bootmalt and another French Company on the pipeline, Groupe Soufflet, it is expected that Ethiopia will be able to meet its domestic malt demand and move to export engaging thousands of farmers into clustered malt barley farming.