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.


Missing out on rain is equivalent to relinquishing the harvesting of crops in Ethiopia’s rain-based agricultural system. As Ethiopia’s chief cultivation season arrives alongside the major rainy season, over 2 million farmers have abandoned their farms to find shelter in safer areas. Ethiopia’s internally displaced population is still out of control three years after the challenge started rising.
But the recent influx of dislodged people in high agricultural corridors including northern Shewa, Wello, western Oromia, Benishangul, and of course, Tigray comes at the crucial time of Ethiopia’s major farming season. As farmers have not prepared the land for the tilling period that ends in June, the upcoming Meher harvest season is forecasted to experience substantial setbacks. The uncultivated lands will result not only in production reductions, but will also place its society in a cyclical fight against poverty. Humanitarian assistance for farmers is stressing the nation’s coffers. Also, as farmers supply 30Pct of their production to markets, the reduction will also contribute to food inflation. EBR’s Mersha Tiruneh assessed the disruption which conflict and farmers’ displacement are pouring onto agriculture and the economy at large.


For any political power aspiring to rule Ethiopia, controlling Addis Ababa is the ultimate accomplishment. Not only does the capital house all essential government organs, but Addis Ababa is mini-Ethiopia. All languages, ethnic groups, and regional states are represented and living in Addis Ababa, making it unique from the ethnic and language-based federalism seen in all other cities bar Dire Dawa to a much lesser extent.


The life of waste collectors in Addis Ababa is not dissimilar to a burning kindle. They make the capital clean and bright while their very lives are hung by a thread. Each day, they move from door to door with pushcarts to collect garbage, just to get ETB0.71 per kilogram of collected waste. They have families but are homeless and excluded from social structures.

However, even that has become luxury for the close to 400 residents of a garbage collection site who recently lost everything in a fire accident and have to return to the streets with babies, elders, and pregnant women. Ironically, the city administration, local officials, and NGOs are all silent even a month after the major fire accident damaged all that they had. The fairy Addis Ababa is deaf to a number of flaws in its urban texture, all the while being a diplomatic hub. EBR’s Mersha Tiruneh investigates how the lives of hundreds of Addis Ababa’s cleaning workers have gone down the dust bin.

Ethiopian Business Review | EBR is a first-class and high-quality monthly business magazine offering enlightenment to readers and a platform for partners.

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