Tanzania spends US$83m annually on edible oil imports

TANZANIA – Tanzania is spending at least US$83.19 million annually on edible oil imports despite the country’s potential to grow and produce edible oil, statistics from agriculture ministry reveals, IPP media reports.

The country has a potential to produce adequate quantities of cooking oil thus experts were called on come up with a comprehensive plan to revamp the crop.

Speaking at a two-day palm oil stakeholders’ meeting in Morogoro region, Deputy Minister for Agriculture Omari Mgumba said the current maximum demand for cooking oil in the country was more than 570,000 tonnes annually.

Efforts to revamp the sector would include proper farm management, efficient processing, potential markets and an oil palm policy and also cultivation of the crop for oil production.

According to Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA) acting CEO Dr. Sophia Kashenge demand for palm oil in the country will rise to 78millions tonnes annually by the year 2020.

The country formed Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) and Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) with a goal to better develop the crop.

In collaboration with Trade Mark East Africa, ASA called together palm oil stakeholders including government institutions, the private sector and farmers so as to come up with a common strategy to improve oil palm cultivation.

Self-sufficiency in edible oils

The minister said the palm crop had been facing different challenges including a lack of better seedlings and seeds, adding that the meeting of agriculture researchers and experts was a sure way of laying strategies and setting plans to ensure a solution to the issue was found.

“As a country, we have enough land for producing edible oil within the country. So, for us to meet here should bring about efficiency and professionally clarify those challenges and address them so to increase production,” said the deputy minister.

According to a 2017 study conducted by the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), efforts to produce enough oils for local consumption have been impeded by poor processing and packaging technologies.

The research reveals Tanzania’s supply of edible oils stands at 180,000 tonnes against almost triple the demand and by 2030, this may likely hit 700,000 tonnes.

In a drive towards achieving the self-sufficiency dream, Tanzanian president recently directed the enforcement of heavy taxes on imported crude edible oil.

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