The cooking oil industry expects to increase production by 100 percent to 24,000 tonnes a month this year from 12,000 tonnes in the previous year.
Surface Investments chief executive Sylvester Mangani who is the president of Oil Expressers’ Association of Zimbabwe said last week that huge investments are earmarked for 2015 which are going to address the cooking oil supply deficit that has been affecting the country.
“We are expecting a 100 percent increase in production for the year 2015 and this comes as most cooking oil manufacturers have lined up huge investments to cover for the cooking oil supply deficit in the country.
“During the Christmas of 2014 the local cooking oil industry managed to provide for the required cooking oil and there was no need for imports,” said Mangani.
He said with the amount of investments lined up in 2015 there will not be any need for the country to import cooking oil.
Imports of cooking oil last year slowed down by about 50 percent to around 45 percent from 80 percent due to an improvement in production and regulatory interventions.
In the 2014 budget statement, government introduced several measures to stem importation of products that are locally produced.
Mangani said collectively cooking oil producers have a capacity of over 12,000 tonnes per month of cooking oil while demand is estimated to be around 10,000 tonnes per month.
“There’s no need for us to import any oil whatsoever. However there’s need for choice therefore industry needs to be protected from imports of cooking oil. In the last 18 months, I’m happy to say, imports have reduced from 80 percent to around 45 percent because of investment.”
Zimbabwe has been importing cooking oil worth $220 million annually as the local manufacturers continue to use obsolete plant and equipment making them uncompetitive in meeting local demand.