5 000 farmers contracted to grow sunflower
Senior Agriculture Reporter
Major cooking oil and margarine maker Pure Oil Industries has contracted 5 000 smallholder farmers in four provinces to produce sunflower during the present summer cropping season to assure itself of local supplies of a critical raw material and replace imports.
The move is also expected to create employment, empower smallholder farmers and enable them to participate in the agriculture value chain as well as boost supplies of Pure Oil’s premium branded sunflower cooking oil as it pays local farmers to produce what it needs. Pure Oil also makes margarine.
The pilot project is being conducted in Kadoma, Sanyati, Checheche, Chiredzi, Triangle, Mazowe, Centenary, Bindura and Matepatepa.
Pure Oil is collaborating with the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) and Agritex. AMA has the database of registered farmers in which beneficiaries are drawn from while Agritex will offer the agronomic expertise. Pure Oil spokesman, Mr Rodreck Musiyiwa said the company was targeting to extend the concept to all areas countrywide.
“We aim to support 50 000 hectares under sunflower which will see a lot of households in Zimbabwe benefiting from this programme.
“We are complimenting Government efforts to develop the value chain and we feel our investment will be protected,” he said.
Mr Musiyiwa said Pure Oil’s objective was to incentivise local production of sunflower.
“Sunflower used to be a major oilseed in the country. Cooking oil requirement is approximately 150,000 tonnes per year and we believe sunflower oilseed production can be increased to constitute 25 percent of the country’s total oilseed requirement.
“Pure Oil Industries is guaranteeing the market for sunflower in the country. This coupled with input assistance to the farmers is going to be game changer in production of sunflower and have a have ripple effect in the entire sunflower oilseed value chain, be it upstream or downstream industries,” he said.
Mr Musiyiwa said attainment of Vision 2030 begins with capacitating the grassroots, which in turn drives production, stimulating the growth in industry.
“One of the major NDS1 aims, to localise the production value chain and increasing sunflower oil seed production will go a long way in reducing the dependence on imports thereby saving much needed foreign currency.
“Sunflower is easy to grow, has high oil content and can be grown in area not suitable for other predominant oilseed crops,” he said.
AMA chairman, Mr Allan Majuru said the authority was promoting commercialisation of smallholder farmers through market linkages.
“The aim of linkages is to enhance agricultural productivity. Government has been at the forefront of encouraging farmers to treat farming as a business.
“It is through this approach that farmers can also get good returns on their farming operation as we target another good harvest this year. We continue to register success in promoting market driven production of crops,” he said.
Pure Oil Industries an oil seed expressor in Zimbabwe with its anchor brand Zimgold being an established household name in the country.
Pure Oil is also part of with its sister companies – Agri value Chain (Pvt) Ltd and Parrogate (Pvt) Ltd have the major combined capacity in Zimbabwe to handle and process a wide variety of oilseeds that includes soyabean, cotton, canola and sunflower.