Tulip Addis Water, a local manufacturer that specialises in water treatment technology, invested 60 million Br to set up a tabletop water filter company in Debre Birhan, Amhara Regional State.
Having a capacity of producing 500,000 filter units a year, the plant that is located some 130Km from the capital city will supply 13lt and 20lt filter models to the market. The company plans to sell the smaller filter for 700 Br and the larger version for 1,000 Br.
The construction of the plant was started four months ago and is expected to start trial production in May. The owners imported the machinery from China, Germany and Turkey and are currently working on the fence of the plant. The plant is expected to hire 60 workers.
The product is a two-bucket water filter and water storage facility in one. The top bucket will be filled with water and will be filtered through the tulip candle filter into the lower bucket.
The Tulip Table Top lasts up to 7,000lt and the candle can easily be replaced. Currently, the company is dealing with agents that will distribute the product in regional states, according to Getaw Mekonnen, founder and manager of the plant, who also says that the
forex crunch and the shortage of electric power supply were the main challenges during construction.
Hailemariam Kebede (PhD), a lecturer at Addis Abeba University's School of Commerce and a marketing expert, appreciates the investment of the company in terms of saving forex by substituting locally-produced items.
Hailemariam also says that the company will not face a problem selling its products, as there is a high demand for water.
In Ethiopia, 62 million people lack access to safe water, according to Water Org, an American nonprofit development organisation.
"But they have to consider the price factor and sell the products at a lesser price than the imported products,"
Hailemariam added. The water bottling business is also growing in the country with close to 90 water bottling companies that produce more than 3.5 billion litres of water a year.
The company secured 3,000Sqm of land in May 2019 from the Debre Birhan City Administration, which is recently attracting more investments.
The town has 467 active investments with a registered capital of 29 billion Br.
Out of the total investments, 250 of them are involved in manufacturing,while 137 are in the service sector and the rest are in agriculture.
"In the past four years, investment flow to the area has significantly increased," said Birhan Gebrehiwot, Debre Birhan's Industry & Investment Bureau head.
Last year the Bureau issued 250 investment licenses, of which 70pc of them are in the manufacturing sector. Out of the total investment, 29 of them have already started operations and created job opportunities for 12,000 people.