ETHIOPIA - As the nation strides to embark on industry led economy in GTP II set to begin in the 2008 budget year, the expansion of labour intensive manufacturing industries could absorb rural labour.
The transition from agrarian economy to industry led economy will advance such objective and the government will devote its energy and resources to that end.
In an exclusive interview with the Ethiopian Herald, Director General of The Ethiopian Sugar Corporation with a Rank of Minister Shiferaw Jarso said that, the current expansion in the sugar industry will uplift the nation's economy to a higher level and bring multifaceted benefits among which job creation, technology and knowledge transfer, increase export capacity and earn hard currency the country needs for various development endeavours.
According to Shiferaw, at the completion of the GTP II the nation has the ambition to become one of the top ten sugar exporting countries in the world with the annual sugar production rate rising to 422 million tonnes. At the same time besides satisfying the local sugar demand, the production will be available for export as well.
He further noted that, to reach the highest level of productivity per hectare, the government has imported selected types of sugar for plantations and the new species is producing encouraging results.
Currently, the productivity of sugar plant per hectare is 146 tonnes and this number will rise to 169 in the final phase. Up to now sugar plantation occupies 70,000 hectares of land and in the final phase of GTP II, the size of the land will have risen to 290,000 hectares.
Shiferaw also said that, in the first phase of GTP I, the government has been engaged more in facilitating the sugar projects including construction of dams, irrigation and residential houses for employees, and in preparing farms by clearing the vegetation cover in the plantation areas successfully accomplishing the job. The construction of schools to the local community is also completed.
However, he did not deny that some of the projects did not go as per the plan.
Asked whether doing the job beyond the time frame would incur additional costs on the nation, Shiferaw said admitted that there were extra costs for that but he also outlined some of the factors, which contributed for the delay such as lack of capacity and financial constraints.
Asked whether the government would allow foreign private companies to involve in the sugar industry to encourage competition, Shiferaw said that, though the government showed interest to invite the private sector, both individually as well as in joint venture, the result has not been positive due to the expensive nature of constructing dams and using irrigation.
Regarding the vulnerability of water resources and dams due to global warming and climate change, he said that with the cooperation of other stakeholders, the ongoing water shade management work will be enhanced and the problem could be mitigated.
August, 10, 2015; http://allafrica.com/stories/201508101467.html