Dar es Salaam. Although Tanzania can wholly produce edible oils for its consumption, it spends Sh655 billion ($294 million) annually on importing palm oil from Asia, a new study shows.
The study, conducted by the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) between March and June this year, shows that challenges such as poor farming technologies hamper cooking oil production.
The study conducted in Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Dodoma and Morogoro shows that the production of oilseeds depends on rains.
It also highlights poor processing and packaging technologies.
Eighty-five per cent of oilseed producers are poorly equipped small-scale farmers.
According to TPSF research consultant Bryceson Sali, Tanzania has 1.6 million of oilseed farmers.
Sali hopes that if oilseed farming it will make a dent in poverty in more than 13 million households.
The study has recommended that the government increase its commitment in promoting the production of edible oils to end massive imports. Tanzania’s annual demand for edible oils is 500,000 tonnes while supply is 180,000 tonnes.
To bridge the deficit, cooking oils are imported.
The report forecasts demand to hit 700,000 tonnes by 2030.
If 2 million tonnes of oilseeds are produced annually the situation will greatly improve.
An assistant director in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Juma Mwambapa, said the government was aware of the country’s huge cooking oil potential.
He said the ministry officials would study the report and work on areas that could speed up Tanzania’s realisation of its industrialisation goal.