A local automotive importer has ventured into a new industry by setting up a mango juice processing and water bottling business with an investment of 150 million Br.
Sendelet Food Processing, a subsidiary of Risiq Group, set up a juice and water bottling plant in Burayu, Taxeq Industry Zone, West Shoa, Oromia Regional State. The plant is expected to start production in the middle of this month. The juice will be branded Omango, while the water will bear the brand name Owater. Both products are expected to hit the market this March.
Risiq Construction, a subsidiary of the family-owned Risiq Group that was established in 2010 and mainly engages in the food and beverage, automotive dealership, import-export and construction businesses, constructed the 1,000Sqm plant. It imported the Sheen Star juice processing machines from China.
The new plant, which took one and a half years to complete, has the capacity to process 50,000 bottles of juice a day in half-litre and 300ml bottles. The water bottling line can bottle 300 jugs of water an hour, each with a capacity of 20lt.
Sendelet imports the raw mango pulp, the inner fleshy yellow or sweet part of the mango, from India to produce the juice. For the water bottling plant, the company gets the water from the underground burrow located inside the compound.
Owater and Omango will join the burgeoning water bottling and juice processing business in the country, which has 87 water and seven juice processing plants. The 87 water bottlers supply just five percent of national consumption, while the nation has a population above 100 million.
Currently, the management of the company is recruiting new employees and targets to have 40 employees for the first year.
"We'll expand the number of employees to 80 when we start working in double shifts," said Nesrdin Redwan, manager of the plant, who adds that the plant expects to process guava and multi-fruit juice with carton packaging after undergoing an expansion.
Electric power outages and political unrest in the area were the main challenge that the owners of the company faced during the construction of the plant, according to Nesrdin.
Sendelet Food Processing, which was established in 2014, has already been making and supplying PET lightweight plastic to water bottlers and juice processors in Ethiopia. The company mainly targets the local market.
"We also have a plan to export our products to neighbouring countries, including Djibouti and Sudan," said Nesrdin.
Hailemariam Kebede (PhD), a lecturer at Addis Abeba University's School of Commerce, recommends the management of the company consider decreasing the price of the product at least for six months to penetrate the market.
Hailemariam also says that the company should produce the raw material locally to save foreign currency.
"If they didn't manufacture the raw material locally," said Hailemariam, "it would be good to make a joint venture agreement with another company."