MOZAMBIQUE – Niassa Cotton Company (SAN), subsidiary of Portuguese Joao Ferreira dos Santos group in Mozambique, has opened a new vegetable oil factory in the city of Cuamba, northern province of Niassa.

The facility has a processing capacity of 7,500 tonnes per year of crude vegetable oil, and 3,000 tonnes of refined oil produced from soya beans.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi officially opening the state-of-the-art unit lauded the project highlighting it will beef up local availability of the highly sort after vegetable oil and will replace import of the commodity with a direct impact on the country’s balance of trade.

This reduction of imports, he said, “Represents greater economic and financial autonomy of the country, and a greater capacity to retain foreign currency, widening our room for manoeuvre in exchange management, which is a crucial element in the stability of our economy.”

Imports of vegetable oil have been a heavy burden on the balance of trade. Annually Mozambique spends about US$400 million on importing cooking oil – which is 30 per cent of the import of all goods associated with agriculture.

Cooking oil is one of the goods whose world market price has soared recently, partly because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which is one of the main producers and exporters of sunflower oil.

Nyusi put the average rise in the price of vegetable oil at 100 per cent, making this product a significant component in Mozambican inflation.

“Hence, we reaffirm that one of the ways of reducing the cost of living is to increase our own production and to transform our raw materials into finished goods on our own territory,” said the President,

According to reports by Club of Mozambique, government’s effort to champion production of oilseeds has started to bear fruit as output grew by 26% in the 2020-2021 campaign, especially in sunflower crops, which grew by 55%, followed by cotton (37%), soybeans (35%) and sesame (25%).

The new cooking oil factory will further simulate agricultural production, offer ready market for farmer’s produce, and offer employment opportunities.

The factory would provide a market for about 40,000 producers of soya and cotton. “They are all called upon to provide quality raw material for the extraction and refining of vegetable oil. They have a guaranteed market, and that will ensure self-employment in agriculture,” said Nyusi.

Opening of the vegetable oil factory follows the inauguration of the country’s largest and most modern meat processing unit in the western city of Tete.

Known as the Canefood Processing Unit, the abattoir can process 200 head of cattle and 500 goats a day.

The facility is fashioned with state-of-the-art equipment that will ensure it meets the highest standards of international certification for slaughter, processing, and conservation.

This will not only contribute to the gradual elimination of the practice of indiscriminately butchering animals without appropriate sanitary conditions – which is an attack on public health, but also opens prospects of export of quality meat to international markets.

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