30 August 2017

Local cooking oil producers decry lack of raw materials – Starr Fm

Local manufacturers of cooking oil have decried the unavailability of raw materials in the country. The manufacturers are currently importing about 90 percent of palm fruits used in producing the cooking oil.

Demand for palm fruits in the country currently stands at 400,000 tons. However, the local market is only able to meet 150,000 tons of the demand compelling manufacturers to import from countries like Singapore and Malaysia.

The development is gravely affecting the growth of the sector, according to industry players. One of the major producers of cooking oil in Ghana: Wilmar Africa Ltd for instance spends about 40 million dollars on imports of raw materials.

Speaking to Starr Business after a visit by the Parliamentary Press Corps, General Manager for Wilmar Africa, producers of Frytol, Lacina Coulibaly blamed the development on the complex land tenure system which makes it difficult for the establishment of large oil palm plantations.

According to him, local manufacturers are ready and willing to invest in their own oil palm plantations like his company has done at Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP).

However, prevailing conditions are hindrances. “Our main issue here is the land acquisition because we do have our own plantation but the main challenge is how to increase, how to enlarge this plantation by having the land.

“The lands belong to our parents and definitely to increase your operation you have to engage with these people to come to an agreement; a win win situation, this is where the challenges are because sometimes it appears that you have more than two landlords. If you have more than two landlords then it’s difficult to know who the right person to deal with is.”

Mr. Coulibaly called on government to step in to secure large tract of lands for cultivation of palm fruits in order to reduce foreign exchange lost to importation.

“As of now we are ready to invest but definitely it has to be safeguarded and we need the policy makers to make it clean so that we know who we are talking to, who the land belongs to, so that we don’t invest then at the end we end up creating harm. In case we have clear picture, then investment is not a problem because we are in need of palm oil in this country.”

“We are not interested in importing palm oil if it is available in Ghana; we will be creating jobs and that’s good for all of us.”

Wilmar acquired the Frytol franchise from Unilever in 2010 together with the Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP). Since then they have been commanding about 70 percent of the domestic market.

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