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Ethiopia avails high-quality molasses to the local and international markets. With the domestic production of molasses projected to rise with each passing year, sizeable volumes of the product are expected to be provided for internal and external markets.
Molasses are characterized by Description gummy composition, dark color, and sugar-like flavor.
Some of its attributes such as the sugary taste it contains serve to level unpleasant tastes in certain products while its dark composition is often used to turn golden to dark golden color as well as alter gray or dark gray color tones.
Ethiopia produces molasses all year round. The country exported molasses worth USD 1,035,000. The total production stood at 210 thousand metric tons. Most of the cane for the molasses is sourced from small-scale farmers although private farming agencies also contribute a significant volume to the entire national produce.
The local markets consume almost 40% of Ethiopia molasses while the surplus is directed to the international market with Djibouti and Somali acting as their primary markets regionally.
Sugar Cane sources
Raw materials for the processing of molasses come from the sugar cane growing regions of the country. Family growers are cultivating the cane on fields averaging 1.5 hectares almost half of the raw materials required for the processing. These sources are primarily in Central Ethiopia, the Wonji region in Oromia. The country’s major sugar refinery factories are Wonji Shewa and Kesssem sugar factories which are close to the cane sources.
Forms of export
Ethiopia molasses is mainly exported in unrefined blackstrap. Another type is the dark and light molasses which are obtained after boiling sugar cane for the first time.
Fancy molasses is another one which has a sweet taste. The other one is the unsulphured and sulphured molasses.
Cane growing conditions
Sugarcane thrives in conditions ranging from rainfall between 1100-1500 mm, relative humidity 80%-85% to solar energies from 18 – 36 MJ/ m2. Ideal water content ranges from 148 to 300g which results to 1.0g of dry substance in the plant. Sugarcane height stands between 2-6 meters.
Does molasses have any benefits?
Molasses is very different compared to refined sugar which does not help the body at all nutrition wise. Unlike sugar in its refined form, Ethiopia molasses and particularly the blackstrap variety has numerous nutritional values due to the essential minerals and vitamins including iron, selenium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and calcium it contains.
Industries use molasses as raw materials to manufacture animal feed, preparation of beverages and alcoholic drinks, paint as well as fuel.
It also serves various medicinal purposes. It aids in digestion issues and controls low irons in the blood that usually cause anemia, cholesterol levels, and migraine. It is rich in magnesium and calcium that helps strengthen bones high potassium content maintaining electorate levels in the blood.
Three processes are undertaken which include:
The raw fresh sugarcane is stripped off the debris and leaves. Older cane is preferred due to the high-quality molasses it produces. They are then washed to remove any remaining impurities.
The cane is taken through the second phase whereby it is clashed to extract juice using a mortar and pestle to extract juice. The fluid which is usually yellow is transferred into a pot and boiled at optimum conditions until it reaches the boiling point.
Slight crystal sugar particles start to form which is a sign of molasses.
Finally, the thick solution is refrigerated for 12 hours which eventually translates cool temperature conditions of 10° Celsius. The subsequent molasses is put into a point for further boiling thus evaporating to leave a paste with a sour taste. The final product is a thick solution of molasses although it eventually develops a slightly sweet flavor.
For medicinal purposes, the final solution is boiled again. This enhances its color making it darker and thicker as well. The molasses loses most of its sweetness except that this time around it develops a bitter-sweet flavor with a little hint of sugar and essentially obtains vital minerals.
The packaging of Ethiopia molasses is done in five-gallon drums. The other form of packaging is where plastic bottles of six liters each are used. The bottles are then placed in cartons which are sealed properly then labeled. Most of the time, packaging of Ethiopia molasses adheres to the client’s specifications.
Storage temperature conditions fall between 10-20° Celsius as the molasses await shipping. Transportation of the molasses to Bola International Airport is done using trucks fitted with refrigeration to ensure the product retains its quality. To ensure molasses reaches the final destination as fresh as it was processed all bottles are checked continuously before the final sealing of cartons to ensure they are airtight and well corked.
Globally, Ethiopia molasses ranks highly quality wise. The availability of the product in varying forms including the medicinal one gives purchasers an array of options every time they are seeking molasses from the horn of Africa. The sugar cane used to extract Ethiopia molasses is grown under organic conditions and shipments could weigh above 1000 liters depending on one’s order.
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