When the massive edible oil factories, Phibela and W.A., were inaugurated with state fanfare, many believed Ethiopia would no longer face cooking oil shortages, even to the extent that imports would be fully substituted with local production. Six months after the launching of the two giants, cooking oil has become a precious commodity in Addis Ababa with prices rising.
With over 2.7 million liters demanded every day, Ethiopian currently imports 1.3 million liters. Though the daily supply from medium- and large-scale factories in the country has dramatically increased from last year’s 228,800 to 992,876 liters currently, it is still far less than their installed capacities of 3.4 million liters.
Even with blossoming local production, there is in excess of 10.4 million liters in supply gap every month. Lack of power supply and raw materials is crippling even the big oil complexes, as most of the oilseed production is exported to fetch foreign currency for importers. EBR’s Mersha Tiruneh explores government’s misguided policy and the extra effort edible oil factories are undertaking towards farming their own supply of oilseeds.