By Dumisani Nsingo and Thandeka Matebesi
The Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe (OEAZ) is lobbying the Government to remove import duty on all raw materials so as to improve production and competitiveness of local producers.
OEAZ chairperson Mr Busisa Moyo said the existence of import duty on most raw material needed in the production of cooking oil was hindering local manufacturers’ competitiveness.
“It must be noted that manufacturers have always and still require four to six licences and permits to bring soya beans, crude and agricultural raw materials commodities. We are lobbying for the removal of import duties on all raw materials to the sector, we are structuring procurement around the awaited AfreximBank $500m facility,” said Mr Moyo.
He said there were a number of measures, which needed to be put in place so as to ensure local producers grab a larger niche market locally.
“Lowering the borrowing costs to manufacturers in general is another key point, in the medium term we are increasing soya growing hectarage as 200 000 hectares are required to produce 400 000 metric tonnes. The rest of our actions are tactical to preserve the local producers’ market share, which is currently at 98 percent,” Mr Moyo said.
He also said a number of edible oil manufacturers were involved in various oilseed productions.
“Our members are involved in farmer outreach programmes and other initiatives around primary oilseed production,” said Mr Moyo.
Industry and Commerce Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu hinted that the country’s soya beans production had reached deplorable level with last year’s yields having managed a production of only two months.
“This year’s yields of soya can only sustain us for a month’s cooking oil production. It means next year for 11 months we will have to import soya. Go back to statistics, you will realise that at one point we were one of the world’s leading exporters of soya, now we are relying on imports,” said Minister Ndlovu. Sunday News.