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Cooking oil producer calls for govt protection

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A LOCAL cooking oil manufacturer has urged government to support local industries by placing restrictions on the importation of products that can be made locally.

BUSINESS REPORTER

In an interview with NewsDay this week, Pure Oil business manager Vishal Warrialani said government support for local players would have a positive multiplier effect on other sectors of the economy.

“Imports are affecting business operations for local producers negatively. Actually, we are doing much less than our full capacity. We want to grow volumes,” he said.

He suggested that government could support industry and farmers by coming up with appropriate policies and called for more import restrictions on products that could be produced locally.

“This way, local industry can reinvest and be capacitated for production volumes to increase,” Warrialani said.

Pure Oil is a joint venture between IETC Zimbabwe Private Limited and Parrogate Zimbabwe Private Limited holding 50,10% and 49,90% respectively.

Pure Oil was formed two years ago and commenced full-scale production in December last year.

A substantial number of factories closed down at the height of Zimbabwe’s political impasse and economic free-fall in 2008, and to date continue to scale down operations or go under judicial management.

This negative development is attributed to lack of access to capital for retooling, use of antiquated technologies in factories and an influx of cheap imports, among other factors.

Pure Oil operates a plant with two sections and equipped with modern technologies, one for processing soya beans and another for processing both cotton seed and soya beans.

The plant has oil-refining capacity of 3,5 million litres per month, which although Warrialani said was adequate for the local market, the company was looking to increase to four million litres, given a better operating environment.

“We also produce soya feed for the stockfeed industry, including poultry, piggery sector and dairy production among others. The detergents and soap industry
benefits from our by-products and we are also supporting the packaging industry due to demand,” he said.

He said such agro-based operations had a positive multiplier effect on the rest of industry with benefits to farming community and increased employment for locals.

The $25 million project leverages on a wide distribution network through retailers and wholesalers.

Warrialani said the firm was looking at further expansion opportunities in due time.

The company presently imports degummed crude oil from South Africa to utilise the full capacity of the refinery, but plans on cutting back on crude oil imports once the second plant becomes fully operational this year.

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