Half of soap on the market below standard


A recent inspection by the Ministry of Trade indicates that over half the soap on the market is below standard.
Iyasu Simon, who directs imports and exports at the Ministry told Capital that 1044.92 metric tons of soap samples have been studied. They also inspect detergents and soaps being sold at shops. This includes liquid and powder detergents as well as solid soaps. Over half of all of these were below the standards.
“Most of the soap and detergents products fail to meet the standards”, said the import and export director.
Some of the parameters are total fatty content, total active matter and foam testing parameters.
Lack of awareness about national standards and misuse, wrong labeling limitation capacity of the testing laboratory are some of the reasons. According to Iyasu, using unknown raw materials which are untraceable are the other big challenges.
In Ethiopia, there are more than 70 soap and detergent factories and more than 80 percent of them are found in Addis Ababa.
Soap is also produced by small scale manufacturers; there are more than 600 small scale soap manufactures in Ethiopia which makes quality regulation difficult.
In Ethiopia soap and detergent per capita consumption is less than 2 kg which is less than the average compared to other countries which show the huge gap in demand and supply of the products.
In the production of soap and detergent, 80-90 percent input is water while the main challenge is chemicals imported to use as an ingredient. According to the data from chemical development institute, Ethiopia imported over 21 billions of tones of chemicals for the last eight years that cost that country more than six billion birr.
Lack of technology transfer, lack of expert in the field, shortage of working capital; supply of raw materials the challenge that local manufacturers raise.
Though, Ethiopia attempt to earn foreign currency from exportation of soap and detergent by the combined effort of Shemu plc, Unilever Manufacturing P.L.C, Bekas chemicals plc, and Qingninchen soap factories are able to attract less than 500 thousand USD for the past three years.