MUTARE — Zimbabwean cooking oil producers have stepped up production and reviewed prices, warding off competition from imports, an official with an industrial body has said.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) vice president, Henry Nemaire said local cooking oil producers had gained a significant market share, and were now highly competitive.
“Cooking oil producers have united and they have whipped out foreign cooking oil from the shelves,” Nemaire said.
“It’s now United Refineries, Chitungwiza producers and Olivine on the shelves. All the foreign cooking oil is gone,” he said.
The country’s manufacturing sector has been battling against cheap foreign goods flooding the market.
Local products have fared badly against imports due to antiquated machinery and high production costs which have made the local products very expensive. The cooking oil industry was one of the most affected sectors, among a host of others.
The country had over the past few years been importing cooking oil worth US$220 million annually as local manufacturers struggled to meet local demand.
Most firms such as United Refineries, Olivine and National Foods, among others have been retooling and stepping up efforts to regain lost market share.
The producers currently have an estimated combined output of 12 000 tonnes per month while local consumption stands at 10 000 tonnes.
Oil Expresser’s Association of Zimbabwe president, Sylvester Mangani, announced early this year that they intend to double output.
“We are expecting a 100 percent increase in production for the year 2015. This comes as most cooking oil manufacturers have lined-up huge investments to cover the cooking oil deficiency in the country,” said Mangani, who is also Surface Investments chief executive officer.
An assessment done by the Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets revealed that there was a high concentration of locally produced cooking oil on the market.
Over six types of locally produced cooking oil dominate supermarket shelves at the moment.
These include Roil, Sunshine, Pure Drop, Shoppers’ Choice, Olivine and Pure Cooking Oil.
Moreover, the survey also indicated that of all the imported cooking oil that previously dominated the local market, only D’Lite from South Africa was still available in Mutare, though at a small scale.
Nemaire said the few remaining products were of no threat to local manufacturers as consumers were shunning them.
He attributed the development to the implemented protection measures that were advocated by CZI.
These involved levies on all imported goods that could be produced locally.
Soap, cooking oil, sugar and dairy industries were beneficiaries of the protection measures aimed at shielding the local industry from stiff foreign competition.