Assela Malt Factory, the largest malt supplier in Ethiopia, is set to triple its malt production from currently 36.000 tons to 100.000 tons per year. Assela was sold in February last year in an auction for US$48.8 million to Oromia Agricultural Cooperative Federation, a company founded by members of agricultural unions. Other unsuccessful bidders at that time were Malt Africa, a sister company of Bavaria Holland, which is the major shareholder of Habesha Beer, and Malteries Soufflet.
The factory was established in 1984 in Oromia Regional State. The surrounding areas of the malt factory are also known for the high production of grains used for malt production. The malting met so far around 40% of the local malt demand in the country and supplied malt to the seven operational breweries in the country. Barley is the fifth most important cereal crop in the country after maize, wheat, teff and sorghum, and it is produced on about one million hectares of land.
The decision of an enlargement follows the announcement of two leading French malting groups to build new maltings at the Horn of Africa.
In February 2017 French agro-cooperative Axéréal and its malting division Boortmalt said to build a new 60,000 t malting on a greenfield site around Debre Birhan city in Ethiopia. Production was said at that time to start by the end of 2018. (inside.beer, 8.2.2017)
In June last year, Malteries Soufflet also announced to build a new 60,000 t malting on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital Addis-Ababa. (inside.beer, 13.6.2018)
The new malting capacities in excess of 180.000 tons together with the already existing capacity of about 50,000 tons is sufficient to replace total imports of malt. Ethiopia with a total yearly production of capacity of over 12.6 million hectoliters of beer is currently requiring at least 235,000 tons of malt a year. However, with a population of almost 100 million, Ethiopia is growing fast, from both the demographic and economic points of view. The country is also Africa’s 4th largest beer producer butthe potential to grow is enormous since per capita consumption amounts to only 9 liters per head and year.