Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe (OEAZ) president Busisa Moyo has said cooking oil production has improved in the month of May due to the easing of lockdown regulations in South Africa whereby various companies can easily import spares and raw materials.
The development comes at a time when critical sectors have started
to operate on a full scale basis to improve supply which has gone
down in the last month.
Moyo told Business Times that cooking oil supply has improved throughout the month and the situation is expected to further improve in June when local farmers deliver their soyabeans.
“Cooking oil supply has greatly improved this month due to easing
of the lockdown regulations both in South Africa and locally as we now
have easy access to spares and critical raw materials for our production.
During the total lockdown period, we couldn’t access raw materials as
most companies were closed in South Africa,” Moyo said.
“We hope that the improvement in the industries will help all the whole
value chain to reach to customers.
“On the local front, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) letters
of credit through Afreximbank which were frozen during the
lockdown are now functional. With that development, we expect oil
producers to access forex to begin massive production.”
Cooking oil capacity utilisation has doubled to above 20% from 10%
Moyo said local soyabeans production is expected to go down
by 20% to 40 000 tonnes from 60 000 tonnes last year.
He said this year’s 40 000 tonne output is just a two-month soyabeans
requirement for the oil producers.
This implies that cooking oil producers require 20 000 tonnes
per month.RBZ governor John Mangudya said the central bank
has continued to supply essential service providers with access foreign
currency to improve production.
“We have continued to provide forex for cooking oil, fuel, grain and
pharmaceuticals to ensure people continue to survive and get basic
commodities during these trying times of Covid-19,” Mangudya said.
Eggs, chicken and pork availability will be negatively affected as these
depend on soya meal as the base protein source while day-old chicks
and other meat sources will also suffer.
This comes at a time when the oil expressers are battling to supply
the country with enough supply of cooking oil and other substitute
goods like butter or margarine due to foreign currency shortages.
Two of the oil expressers’ members Surface Wilmar industries and
Olivine industry have since closed their doors following the foreign
currency crunch with claims that they were failing to cover their debt
incurred through the importation of raw materials.
The country demands two million litres of cooking oil per week which
requires three million in hard currency however, in the past year,
the companies have managed to produce one million litres of oil.
Turmoil continues to hit the oil industry as the government failed to
mobilise the promised ZWL$200m to grow soya bean under the
Command Agriculture programme.
Owing to the shortages in raw materials soya bean, cotton and sunflower the cooking oil manufacturers will be forced to import raw materials and semi crude oil.
This further worsens the situation considering there is already a foreign