Edible oil industry seeks US$48m




Busisa-Moyo

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s cooking oil companies are seeking US$48m in the next 16 weeks to import crude oil and soybeans, which is in short supply locally, Business Times can report.

The industry has not been accessing adequate foreign currency from the forex auction market to procure the critical raw materials.

Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe (OEAZ) president Busisa Moyo confirmed the development this week.

Moyo said the peak period for oil companies was between now and December.

He said it was critical that forex is made accessible to avoid shortages during this period.

“The edible oil industry requires US$3m per week to procure raw materials to maintain the current cooking oil supply as well as averting cooking oil shortages during the festive season.

“We have 16 weeks left on our calendar and we want to ensure that there are no shortages along the way up to the year-end as demand goes up from mid-month up to December,” Moyo said.

Soyabean stocks have depleted following the 70 000 tonnes that were harvested during the past summer cropping season.

According to OEAZ, cooking oil capacity utilisation is expected to be around 50% by year-end from 20% two months ago. With the cooking oil producers requiring 20 000 tonnes per month, the country has 3.5 months’ supply.

Eggs, chicken, and pork availability will be negatively affected as these depend on soya meal as the base protein source.

This year no players had closed shop following the improved efficiency of the foreign currency auction system.

The country requires two million litres of cooking oil per week. Cooking oil companies require US$3m to acquire two million litres.

The cooking oil manufacturers will be forced to import raw materials and semi crude oil as the country is failing to produce enough sunflower and other cooking oil-producing crops.

This, therefore, gives pressure on the auction system to provide forex for crude oil imports. – Business Times