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Broom Corn Production Farm




  1. Product Description: The long fibrous panic of broom corn plant is a type of sorghum that is used for making brooms and whisk brooms. A ton of broom corn brushes makes 80 to 100 dozen of brooms. Therefore quality broom corn brush is a pea-green in color and free from discoloration. The fibers should be straight, smooth, pliable and approximately 50.8 cm long. Brush that is overripe, reddened, bleached, crooked, coarse, or flat is considered poor quality.

 

  1. Rationale: Broom corn is one of the sorghum. Unlike other sorghum varieties which are grown for grain, fodder and making molasses, broom corn is grown only for broom making. It is cultivated like any other ordinary field crop. It is well adapted and widely grown in areas with 500 to 700 mm rainfalls and temperature range of 27 0c to 400c; soil PH from 5.0 to 8.5. The best brush is produced on warm and moist weather and fertile soils. From planting to harvesting crops and preparing it for broom maker require a great deal of manual labor. Hence the production process of broom corn is labor intensive.

In the light of the crop's natural conditions and production requirement the Amhara region has both resources in abundance. In fact, it has a comparative advantage in terms of cheap labor availability and suitable land resources. The region has over 85,000 hectares of land in the lowlands of North Gondar and West Gojam zones.

 

  1. Market Potential: Broom corn brush is used as raw material for broom and whisk broom making industries in the USA and European Countries. A broom made of broom corn is the best for heavy duty sweeping in warehouses and roads. Infact, no other fiber equals broom corn for picking dust and sweeping. Because of its unique quality of the brush, broom corn is highly demanded by the broom industries in developed countries. On the other hand because its production process is labor intensive, it is becoming very expensive to produce it in the developed countries. Therefore, the broom industries are looking for cheap supply of broom corn. Infact, there are some companies in Ethiopian already established and engaged in the production of broom corn and exporting to the USA.
  2. Source of Raw Material: Like any other field crops, broom corn production requires seeds, fertilizers and agro-chemicals as raw materials or inputs. These inputs are adequately available locally. At initial stage probably, importation of certified seed from USA, may be necessary.

 

  1. Production Process and Technology: Broom corn can be produced with rain-fed or irrigation system. With irrigation it can be produced twice on the same field. Land development and seed bed preparation are per requisite before planting. Broom corn is planted in rows at 60 cm by 10 cm between rows and plants respectively. Seed rate is 3-4 quintal per hectare. The crop is cultivated like any other field crops and matures from 75-80 days after planting. When it is pea-green it should be harvested and for seed production the crop may last up to 100 days. For fiber or brush production it should be harvested before the seed matures and the fiber becomes brittle. Brush is cut off just below the crown and piled in batches on wooden table. The brush is spread on racks in a drying shed. After curing for 2-3 weeks, the dried batches are hauled to a machine called seed remover with whirling spiked cylinder which knocks of the seed. The seedless brush is compressed in to bales weighing 40-50kg each. All this must be done carefully to yield good, untangled and straight fiber for use in broom.


  1. Investment Cost Estimate: Broom corn production will have two inseparable components, i.e. a farm and a processing unit. The farm size depends on the capacity and interest of the investors. The processing unit will require about 2000m fir curing, drying, cutting and baling. To establish the two units will require investment of Birr 15,000 /ha and an initial working capital of Birr 3000/ha.

 

  1. Benefits: The Broom corn production and processing project will generate a gross return of Birr 4500/ha per year. This earning capacity will reward the investors in the form of profit and generate revenue to the regional state in the form of income tax and vat. The project will also earn foreign exchange for the country. Because of its labor-intensive nature, it will create employment opportunity for the people in the region.
  2. Location: Lowland areas of North Gondar, West Gojam and Awi zones are suitable for the project.

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