The Metahara sugar factory with over 5,000 workers and a capacity to produce around 136,000 tons of sugar annually, which is 20 percent of the country’s sugar had been shut down for seven months due to the inability of its turbines to function after the thunderstorm.
According to Metahara’s deputy manager, Fahmi Dawud, “We lost all hope that these extremely aged units, which were manufactured by Compagnie Electro Mecanique in the 1950s would never become operational again due to the severity of damage. Hotels and supermarkets had run out of sugar and it was a critical situation. We are glad that the machines are working again.”
Meanwhile, GE’s Sub-Saharan Power Services General Manager, Elisee Sezan noted that “GE Power and FieldCore are proud to have helped bring sugar production back to Ethiopia.”
For some years, Ethiopia has been battling chronic sugar shortage that led to various protests that resulted in the death of more than 10 people. The public which continually tables their woes and sufferings to the government has repeatedly gotten the same answer from the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation “the scarcity of sugar is as a result of the bad weather which has caused a drop-in production of sugarcane.” However, to help alleviate further crises, the government was forced to import hundred thousand tons of sugar from Algeria and Thailand.
Initially, Ethiopia’s plan for the 2018 fiscal year was to produce about seven million quintals of sugar to fulfill the local demand from the five existing sugar factories and the two new sugar factories which are expected to start production later in the year.
Although the country is behind schedule with the repair of the Metahara factory, the second most populous African country might meet its target before the year runs out.