TENDAI BHEBE IN BULAWAYO
Bulawayo-based household products manufacturer, United Refineries Limited (URL), says it is targeting 7 500 hectares of soyabeans, a move meant to improve the production of the raw material needed by local edible oil companies.
URL chief executive officer, Busisa Moyo, told Business Times this week that this will be achieved through the formation of contract farming alliances.
“The Ministry of Agriculture has encouraged us to have alliances with farmers and also to get into corporate farming. So we are going in that direction. Without a doubt it’s the future to secure our raw materials and make sure that the market linkages for cash crops like soya beans and cotton seed are secure and clear,” Moyo said.
He added: “Initially, our soya beans outgrowers alliance programme is targeting 7 500 hectares if finances permit so that’s our target. We need to mobilise resources to make sure that happens.
“So from that 7500 hectares we will get 15 000 tonnes which represents close to 15-20% capacity but the rest we intend to buy in and hopefully start getting towards 50% markets. So the initial target we have got and that’s going to require us to have other schemes and other alliances outside of our outgrowers alliance programme we still have linkages with other constructors in the country we intend to grow those relationships as well.”
Moyo said there was need to secure raw materials as the plant received low production.
“Soya bean outgrowers alliance will be on this year in a very big way. As United Refineries we certainly need to secure raw materials our plant is only receiving between 15 and 20% of what it needs in terms of soya beans that’s very small, that’s two or three months of the year which is grossly inadequate we have to do something, we need to mobilise resources,” he said.
He added: “We are a manufacturing business, so this means we have to expand our capacity in order to grow those raw materials. This is new for us. It means a redesign of the way we are configured as a business but it is necessary if we are going to grow.”