Cooking oil shortages loom

Cooking oil shortages loom

Source: Cooking oil shortages loom – DailyNews Live

STAFF WRITER      9 June 2017

HARARE – A big drop in soya bean plantings in Zimbabwe could lead to a
shortage of cooking oil and stock feeds on the domestic market this year.

Nationally, the industry is expected to meet a national need of 200 000
tonnes this season but farmers have dumped the crop due to lack of
financing.

Financial research firm Equity Axis warned cooking supplies could be tight
given bottlenecks in accessing forex to import crude oil.

“Soya bean shortage is looming in Zimbabwe this season . . . , a move
which will have negative implications on the production of cooking oil and
stock feeds,” the research firm warned.

“The current demand for soya bean in Zimbabwe far outstrip supply, opening
opportunities for farmers and other suppliers to plug in the disparities.
The country needs about 220 000t of soya bean annually for food, feed and
other industrial needs.”

At present, Zimbabwean cooking oil companies rely on importing soya bean
and semi-processed crude oil for further processing as these are not
available locally.

In 2016, Zimbabwe imported crude soya bean oil worth $119,9m and more is
expected to be imported this year due to low production.

But, according to the Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe, the plunge
in cooking oil industry capacity utilisation is largely due to failure to
secure adequate foreign currency from the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe to
import raw materials.

Industrialists said the lasting solution lies in increased domestic
agriculture output.

Zimbabwe is grappling with a worsening liquidity crisis, which experts
have repeatedly blamed on low domestic production and the attendant trade
deficit.

Official statistics indicate that the country is battling an unsustainable
annual trade deficit of about $3 billion of which agriculture imports are
a major component.

Immediate past president of Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) and
United Refineries Limited chief executive officer Busisa Moyo has said the
long-term solution to revitalising the local oil expressers and other
agro-processing firms lies in promoting extensive outgrower schemes for
inputs countrywide.

“In the long-term, we need to get our agriculture up so that we improve
production of oil seeds such as soya. As an industry, we are looking for
land of about 100 000 hectares to utilise under soya farming so that we
boost supply of the raw material,” Moyo said.

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