TANZANIA – The Tanzanian government has said it will establish a sunflower processing factory in Dodoma as part of the government’s initiative to increase value chain of products, reports Daily News.

The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Japhet Hasunga said that the project is aimed at eliminating importation of cooking oil to sustain the local market, which has been costing the government foreign earnings.

“We have been witnessing increasing sunflower farming in a number of areas in the country, thus so, that the farmers are availed with reliable market, we have decided to have a factory here by June this year,” he said.

Availability of market, and reliability of sufficient raw materials are some of the factors the minister cited favouring the establishment of the factory.

“We want to assure our farmers of the reliable and available market of their farm produce for increased productivity,” he said.

According to the minister, the government has been spending US$170 million annually on importation of cooking oil.

In his opinion, such funds can be channelled towards improving local companies and developing capacity within the country.

Mr Husanga said that the government has also embarked on a programme that seeks to mobilise diversified farmers produce that will be used for the manufacturing of food oil such as pam and groundnuts among others.

“The equipment and machines need for the factory are already here.

They are on the fixing and other logistics arrangements and come June this year, we want production to start,” he reiterated.

Mr Husanga added that the government is also contemplating on establishing corn flower oil manufacturing unit taking into account the availability of the excess raw materials for the means.

At its operational stage, the factory is expected to offer more than 250 employment opportunities.

Tanzania has an annual sunflower oilseeds output of 350,000 tonnes corresponding to about 90,000 tons of oil, and is one of the top ten sunflower oilseed producers in the world.

The country has been striving towards achieving self-sufficiency in oil production with oilseeds mainly ground nuts, sunflower, sesame, cotton and palm accounting to the bulk of its production.