Zambia imports $70m of cooking oil annually

OILSEED crops can increase farm revenues if the smallholder farmers produced efficiently to obtain fair market prices, says Edible Oil Refiners Association consultant Aubrey Chibumba.

Mr Chibumba said it was important that diversification options were made available to the economy, adding that Zambia was a limited exporter of protein principally because of lack of stock feed.

He said locally produced oil could enable Government to cut back on crude oil imports which currently stand at over US$70 million annually.

Mr Chibumba said locally packed oils were cheaper than the crude edible oil imported from Indonesia and Malaysia because this was only promoting value addition in those respective countries.

He said it was important to increase the availability of stock feed, if additional employment was to be created.

Mr Chibumba said the demand for edible oils in Zambia was huge and would continue to grow as the country developed.

He said programmes for the introduction of structured edible oil markets would support the smallholder farmers to improve their farming efficiency and access to markets.

Mr Chibumba said the animal husbandry sector also supported the meat processing and meat packing sub-sectors.

He said industries in Zambia with significant growth potential could only be realized if the underpinning edible oil sector was operating effectively.

“More than half of Zambia’s edible oil consumption is imported from the Far East, East Africa and South Africa. The cost of importing edible oil from the Far East can account for around a third of its retail price,” Mr Chibumba said.

He said the edible oil industry was one of the largest sectors in Zambia, and also critical to food production in the country.

Over US$150 million has been invested in the industry to produce 20,000 metric tonnes of refined vegetable oil per month – over twice the domestic consumption of just less than 10,000 metric tonnes per month.

2 thoughts on “Zambia imports $70m of cooking oil annually

  1. With 10 million consumers each using 10 bottles of small bottles of cooking oil per year costing one dollar per bottle the total expenditure would be 100 million dollars. This scenario is extreme. A more accurate figure would be in the range of one quarter or approximately 25 million dollars. Instead of harnessing the capacity of the local producer, the wrong solution may have been to import indiscriminately to protect the interests of importers. If that is the case, then the right thing to do is grow the internal market exponentially through appropriate incentives. This requires an association of oil producers collaborating with oil importers to find an acceptable arrangement.

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