ZIMBABWE – Pure Oil Industries (Pvt) Ltd, the manufacturer of ZimGold cooking oil, has invested US$6 million in new projects as it seeks to consolidate its grip on the local market in the wake of growing local demand.
Over the past three years, the company has grown from producing 1.4 million litres per month to 7 million litres.
However, production has significantly improved since July 2016 when Government restricted the import of goods that can ordinarily be produced by local manufacturers.
Pure Oil’s head of operations Mr Rod Musiyiwa said that the company, which is operating at over 90 percent capacity, is betting on new projects to reach maximum capacity.
“Despite the near insurmountable challenges that were facing the cooking oil industry back then, Pure Oil decided to plunge on and invest in local cooking oil processing capability, thereby reducing dependency on imported brands.
“In addition, Pure Oil also invested in an oil seed extraction plant, thus providing a ready market for local soya bean farmers who unfortunately had no avenues to market their produce earlier.
“Total investments in new projects will be approximately US$5 million, including the investment in working capital.
“We have committed approximately US$1million worth of support to farmers who are enrolled in the contract farming scheme with the company,” said Mr Musiyiwa.
Pure Oil has been operating at near full capacity for close to a year.
The company, however, intends to balance automation and employment creation through the purchase of state-of-art machinery that can be operated manually.
It is estimated over 1 000 indirect jobs will be created in packaging, transport and logistics.
The oil sector is considered one of the success stories of Government’s drive to promote both value addition and local production.
Plans are underway to extend cotton farming to other oil-producing crops such as cotton and sunflower.
Added Mr Musiyiwa: “The company intends to promote the entire soyabean value chain and other oil seeds produced in the country such as cotton and sunflower.
“In the same vein, the company has ventured into soyabean contract farming scheme with farmers across the country, thereby reducing dependence on imported oil seeds and crude oil.
“Increase in soyabean production will not only benefit the cooking oil processing plants but will also increase capacity utilization of oil seed crushing facilities.”
Local stock feed manufacturers are also expected to benefit, as they will be able to access most of their raw materials.
Pure Oil is currently putting final touches to its soap production facility and is also actively considering investing in a baker’s fat and margarine plant.
The company is 40 percent owned by National Foods, while the Export Trading Group of Tanzania and Parrogate Zimbabwe hold the remaining stake.