HARARE – The Oil Seed Association of Zimbabwe says it is working on setting up an oil expressing plant in the country as part of its three year strategy.
The move is targeted at enhancing value addition in the country`s oil seed production as well as plug existing gaps in terms of oil supplies.
Currently the country spends about $250 million in crude oil and soya bean imports annually.
“We are not only looking at farming oil seeds but we are also looking at value addition so that we do our exports we export the finished product as well. Defiantly plans are in the pipeline to set up an oil processing plant, it is one of our three year growth strategies as an organisation.
“Behind the sense we have already made significant in rods in terms of funding, the chairman is supposed to do a visit to a certain country to see a proposed structure of the plant so defiantly the plants are there,” said OSAZ operations manager Farai Muchenjekwa in an interview.
However, Mr Muchenjekwa could not provide further details of the project.
“I cannot share specifics of the project as we are still working on the details,” he said.
The country has also been failing to meet its cooking oil demand due to low production of oil plants such as soy beans sunflower (which was last commercially produced in 2003) and ground nuts.
Current production stands at about 37 440 tonnes against a national demand of about 600 000 tonnes.
Meanwhile, OSAZ is working on boosting production of oil seeds by providing small holder farmers with inputs and technical support which will enable them to produce the crops.
“As OSAZ we are championing the revitalisation of the oil seed production in the country, we are targeting mostly our small scale farmers as they constitute about 70 percent of the land that is in the country so we want to maximise production on that land.
“So for this season we are targeting 300 000hactors of sunflower production and 100 000hactors of groundnuts production and if we translate all that production into monitory terms we are targeting $500 million in exports so.
“Our aim is to maximise our yields, we also want to plug in the gap we have with oil because currently the country import about 250 million worth of oil every year so we want to plug in that gap and whilst we plug in that gap and feed the local market we also want to export,” he said.