Ethiopia: Local Bottler Ships Water to England

Garanba Bottling, a subsidiary of B&C Aluminum Plc that bottles South Spring Water, has closed a deal with a UK-based company to export one million dollars worth of bottled water to England.

Garanba Bottling signed the deal with the British company on January 1, 2020, and will deliver the water in a month. It will ship 1,200tn of bottled water as a trial run by March. The first shipment will take five 20-foot equivalent units, which will constitute one million bottles. South Spring Water will mainly be delivered in 0.6lt and 1.2lt bottles.

The bottler negotiated the deal with B&C Fitting Limited, a UK-based aluminum producer, to export its products, according to Berhanu Getahun, board chairperson of Garanba Bottling, which was established with an investment of 410 million Br in Aregobena Wereda of Sidama Zone.

Garanba Bottling, which operates with 310 employees, has the capacity to produce 16,000 bottles of water an hour and plans to increase this number within the next three months.

Before inking the deal, the two parties completed the testing and sampling process, which took close to three months.

"Following the first round," said Berhanu, "we'll seal a long-term agreement to ship 50 containers a month."

Garanba Bottling has also been negotiating with buyers for close to two months to start exporting its products to Saudi Arabia, according to Berhanu.

"We've sent a sample to the company and currently we are working on the contract agreement," said Berhanu.

To encourage the export of bottled water, the Ethiopian Bottled Water, Soft Drink, Fruit & Vegetable Processing Manufacturing Industries Association has sent a letter to the business diplomacy directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to facilitate the export of bottled water to neighbouring countries.

Origin Water, bottled by Origin Food & Beverage Factory located in Oromia Regional State, has been exporting bottled water since last year with Djibouti as its main destination.

Since embarking upon the export of bottled water, Origin Water has shipped a total of 1.2 million tonnes of product, worth an estimated seven million dollars.

"Currently, there are some gaps in our export venture to the neighbouring country due to foreign exchange problems that limited us from importing more machinery to increase our production," said Haymanot Anbesse, quality control manager of Origin Water.

Currently, there are close to 97 bottlers operational in the country, with a total registered capital of three billion Birr.

The increasing competitiveness of the thriving industry compels the bottlers to stretch their reach to foreign countries, said Zewdie Shibere (PhD), assistant professor at Addis Abeba University's School of Business & Economics.

"They should be applauded for their new venture, since it brings in foreign exchange," said Zewdie.

In general, the current supply of bottled water still falls short of the population of the country and thus bottlers should also work on the local accessibility of water by setting competitive prices, according to Zewdie.

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