Ethiopian Herald, by Tameru Regasa
Ethiopia has a huge amount of bamboo resources that can be used as input or raw material for the furniture and construction sectors. The country, according to a study conducted by the World Bank, owns 67 percent of bamboo groves in Sub Sahara Africa, which could generate five billion USD and 1.3 million job opportunities. However, the resource is not utilized at the desired level due to various constraints. As to this same study, most of the items used locally are imported ones.
According to Simegn Degu, Deputy Director General’s Representative of the Construction Sector with the Chemical and Construction Input Industry Development Institute, though the country has a long history of making furniture, limitations associated with failure to use modern technology, lack of skilled human power in the sector, inability to produce high quality products and others obliged the country to obtain low returns from the sectors. “Nation’s forest resource and the revenue that we obtain from the furniture sector are absolutely incomparable.”
As to him to reverse this, currently a number of measures have been taken including enacting forest policy to enhance the development of forest sector.
He underscored that in order to facilitate technological transfer in the sector; the Institute has been playing an enabling role through bringing well experienced and knowledgeable experts from abroad. In this step, industries such as Techno Style, Zerupham, African bamboo, Royal Furniture and Apilus industries have benefited. Furthermore, with the effort made to address gaps in technology in industries engaged in processed wood, the Institute has created a linkage with different foreign companies.
In parallel, the Institute has been implementing unceasing follow-up and support activities throughout the year in order to enhance the production capacity of the firms that are engaged in the sector. And depending on the outcomes shown in the follow up and support activities, different capacity building measures were provided. Consecutively, the firms have enabled to improve their production capacity. In the past six months, the industries have manufactured a total of 12,358.3 tons of products worth more than nine billion Birr.
To provide knowledge based follow up and support, the Institute planned to conduct different problem solving researches. Accordingly, it conducted a research entitled ‘The impact of minimization of moisture in bamboo’. “Furthermore, we have been collecting various data that are related to the wood sector that enables us to conduct three different types of researches,” he remarked.
He noted that in the fiscal year nearly 400 job opportunities were created for unemployed through expanding the existing industries and opening new ones.
Likewise, in order to enhance the production capacity of the industries, the Institute is working in collaboration with stakeholders such as the Ethiopian Electric Utility. Consecutively, it was enabled to make some industries the second level user of electricity through renewing their certificate.
To enhance industries’ profitability, the Institute has been working for industries to implement the Kaizen philosophy in their organizations. In turn, some companies have become profitable through reducing unnecessary costs. Adal and Ethiopian Play Wood industries are among the industries that are implementing the philosophy effectively and benefiting from it.
Substituting import is one of the plans of the Institute. To realize this, a number of activities are undertaken. For instance, apart from addressing the scarcity of input that new industries may encounter, the Institute is working with concerned offices and playing a facilitator role to enable industries duty free import of inputs. Reflecting that the enacted forest policy is very decisive for the development of the sector, he said that as it permits different incentives, it attracts more investors into the sector.
Michael Tsegay, Owner and Manager of Kavod Furniture Enterprise on his part said that though the enterprise is new, his enterprise has been obtaining various supports from the government. Ranging from facilitating exhibition to display products, and create market linkages, it has been providing various supports. A lot of enterprises engaged in the sector including his enterprises have been benefiting from the market linkage created through hosting exhibitions.
However, he does not dare to say it is enough. Following the challenges interrelated with electric blackouts; the government has to do a lot to solve the challenges in sustainable way, he remarked.
Source Ethiopian Herald