Let’s focus on import substitution: Minister Minister Nzenza

Joseph Madzimure
Senior Reporter
There is need to implement the import substitution strategy for cooking oil if the country is to cut foreign currency leakages, achieve economic growth and employment creation, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza has said.

The strategy will also help the country meet its national demand for cooking oil of 150 million litres per year.

Dr Nzenza said this in Harare yesterday during a tour of Pure Oil Industries to assess the firm’s operations during the Covid-19 lockdown period. Pure Oil Industries manufactures the ZimGold cooking oil brand, margarine, baker’s fat and washing soap, among others.

Minister Nzenza said importing crude de-gummed oil is a major drain on foreign currency and it perpetuates low capacity utilisation of the country’s crushing capacity.

“If the country is to meet its demand for cooking oil requirement of 150 million litres per year and to achieve the multiple objectives of stemming forex leakage, economic growth and employment creation, we need to vigorously implement the import substitution strategy for cooking oil,” she said.

“The strategy borders around increased production of oil seeds like soya beans, sunflower and strengthen the value chain. This is in line with NDS1 (the National Development Strategy 1), which the industry is currently implementing.

“It is quite pleasing to note that Pure Oils is already supporting soya bean production through its contract farming programmes and provision of extension services and I would like to commend you for that.”

She urged the company to increase the hectarage under soya bean to enable the country to be self-sufficient. Pure Oils was commended for its efforts in thrusting the nation on the global map.

Turning to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), Minister Nzenza said it has the potential to increase employment opportunities and incomes, helping to expand opportunities for all Africans.

AfCFTA is expected to lift around 68 million people out of moderate poverty and make African countries more competitive, and Minister Nzenza challenged companies to harness the existing opportunities and explore new opportunities that will be unlocked by the grand free trade area.

“The issue of quality and competitiveness are paramount if you are going to penetrate this huge market,” she said.

Pure Oil Industries head of operations Mr Rodrick Musiyiwa said the company will ride on the new dispensation to expand its operations.

“We are happy that as company we were designated as an essential service company. Minister Nzenza was having an appreciation of what we are doing, challenges which we might be facing and how best we can work together to address the challenges,” said Mr Musiyiwa.

Pure Oils produces up to 70 million litres of cooking oil per year, which is enough to cover up to 60 percent of the local market.

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