Bottlers request gov’t assistance to export their product

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The Ethiopian Bottled Water and Soft Drinks Manufacturing Industries Association (EBWSDMIA) request the government to support the sector to generate foreign currency by exporting their product.
The industry which now have over 100 water bottlers is substantively focused on the local market meanwhile experts said that the product is crossing borders via contraband.
Ashenafi Merid, General Manager of EBWSDMIA, told Capital that the association discussed with Business Diplomacy Directorate at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on ways to expand the export market.
“In the past local bottlers tried to commence export and some of them achieved that in regional markets and even Europe but it could become consistent,” Ashenafi said.
“The Ethiopian diplomatic mission told us that through its embassies it will assess markets in at least regional markets and find possibilities for Ethiopian water bottlers to export their products consistently,” he added.
Accordingly Ethiopian bottled water manufacturers are currently exporting to Djibouti, South Sudan and Somalia. “Ethiopian products might be available in regional markets since the product is needed in the countries but it is supposed to be run in an organized manner,” the association head said.
In a press conference held on June 25 Admassu Yefru, Domestic Investors Transformation Directorate Director at Ministry of Trade and Industry said that the government is interested in the sector and wants the sector to contribute its share in generating hard currency for the country.
He promised to provide support for the sector to expand its regional market in an organized manner. “The sector itself should also revisit its marketing strategy,” Admassu said.
Admasu recommended local bottlers to design their marketing strategy in an international level.
Ashenafi said that his association is working to come up with concrete assessment of local bottlers’ capacity as per the request of Ministry of Foreign Affairs to at least promote Ethiopian products in regional diplomatic missions.
“Besides that we are also working with Ethiopian Standard Agency to keep the quality of Ethiopian bottled water under international level,” he says adding “it is crucial on the way to join World Trade Organization (WTO) that the country projected to conclude the negotiation in the coming two years.”
“You have to keep your standard not only on quality of product but on packaging, which may need minor improvement to compete with international producers,” Ashenafi said.
The association said that the water bottling industry is growing on an average of 17 percent per year in the past few years, while the market is not expanding as the industry.
In related development EBWSDMIA indicated that due to COVID 19 the sector market has dropped by 85 percent. The closure of entertainment destinations, bazaars, exhibitions, conference and international organizations, offices like embassies and UN offices affected its market significantly.

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