Top joins Ethiopia’s growing water bottling business

Top joins Ethiopia’s growing water bottling business


By Adualem Sisay Gessesse – With a total investment of 273 million birr (around $10 million), ‘Top’, new bottled water brand, enters the growing water market in Ethiopia by creating 147 jobs, the new company managers say.

The company is located in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia around Tatek Geffersa Nono area – some 18 kilometers from the capital Addis Ababa.  Top water bottling plant has the capacity of bottling and packing 18,000 bottles and 920 jars per hour, according to Abebe Dinku, owner of the company named after his name. The fully automated top water bottling plant is installed within the 11,000 square meters of land, the company leased from Oromia Regional State.

Top bottled water will be available in the market after two weeks. In the coming months as part of its expansion plan, the company will to install additional high production capacity plant that can produce 24,000 bottles of water in an hour.

As part of its corporate social responsibility and its motto of, “Let’s drink together”, the company is also planning to allocate 0.02 cents from the sale of every bottle of water, which will be close to 1.4 million birr in total per annum. The money will be used for providing ground water for the people living in water-scare areas in Ethiopia, according to Shimelis Ajemma, marketing manager of the company.

Currently there are 67 water bottling companies in Ethiopia of which the majority are located in Oromia Region close to Addis Ababa where they can access the biggest number of consumers in the country. All together the water bottling factories produce close to 3.5 billion bottles of water per year serving only 5% of Ethiopia’s population.  105 million total populations.

One healthy person is supposed to drink two liters of water every day, according to the World Health Organization. Meanwhile in the case of Ethiopia all bottled water factories operating in the country are providing around 100 milliliters of water per head per day when their total production is divided to the total number of Ethiopian population, which is close to $105 million.

On the contrary neighboring Kenyans with less than half the size of Ethiopia’s population has around 600 water bottling factories, according to Shimels, who argues that there is still huge gap between demand and supply.

Commenting on the rapid increase of water bottling companies in Ethiopia, Shimels listed several factors, ranging from the unmet demand to rapid expansion of urbanization, to the shortage of basic pipeline water coverage, which are badly needed by the people resettling in urban cities migrating from rural Ethiopia.

The environment

Reports show that plastic bags and bottles are among the most environment pollutants. It takes hundreds of years for plastic bottles used for water and other drinks bottling to be decomposed.

To fight such environmental pollution caused by the plastic bottles thrown everywhere across roads and farms by consumers of the water, the manufacturer of Top bottled water has introduced a new incentive package for the youth engaged in the collection of these bottles who sell to the companies that crush and recycle them.

Currently a person who collects one kilograms of garbage plastic bottle sells it for 3.57 birr. Meanwhile the Top water bottling company will increase the price for a kilogram to 4.25 birr and for those who collect thrown Top plastic bottles thrown by consumers, the company plans to pay 5 birr per kilogram.

The company will do this in order to encourage the youth engaged in the business as well as protect its brand Top plastic bottle from being seen on the streets, according to Shimelis.

He further noted that the company will provide 1,000 pairs of gloves, Top water branded work uniform and PP bags for the youth engaged in the garbage collection business including plastic bottles. In and around the city of Addis Ababa, there are currently around 600 youth groups engaged in garbage collection.