BULAWAYO-based cooking oil producer, United Refineries, is now producing 25 percent of the country’s monthly output currently at 8 000 tonnes, an official has disclosed. Chief executive officer, Busisa Moyo told the Financial Gazette‘s Companies & Markets recently that his firm was planning to increase production of cooking oil from the current monthly production of 2 000 tonnes.
United Refineries manufactures cooking oil under the brands Roil and Sunshine, washing soap under Impala and Olive and bath soap under Imperial Leather and Vogue. United Refineries is one of the few remaining companies that carry Bulawayo’s hopes of revival while others have since fallen by the wayside as a result of deindustrialisation that has left over 20 000 jobless in the city, once the industrial hub of Zimbabwe.
The company specialises in cooking oil and soap production. “Our capacity to refine is 70 tonnes a day, which is 2 000 tonnes a month,” said Moyo.
He was speaking during a Buy Zimbabwe Campaign team’s visit to the company’s factory recently.
“As you might know or you might be aware, the cooking oil market in Zimbabwe is 8 000 tonnes of oil per month. So we at this factory are able to produce at least 25 percent of this entire requirement for this nation,” he said.
He said they were even looking at expanding that capacity as long as there was demand.
“The key in this industry is to make sure that our agricultural sector is growing to supply inputs for our crushing side,” he said, indicating that the local market was currently supplying their crushing unit with 40 percent of inputs, with 60 percent being met through imports.
Moyo complained about the influx of cheap cooking oil imports, arguing they were killing local industry. “Foreign products have hurt us. They are the reason why we have had a lot of challenges in terms of shop space and so on,” he said.
“We are part of the Oil Processors Association and on average we are on 60 percent across the board whereas two years ago we were on 19-25 percent capacity. So it is almost a doubling of that capacity with very little support that we have received because people are still smuggling oil into the country; the borders are still porous, which is a big challenge.”
United Refineries is producing about 1 250 tonnes of soap per month. Mandla Tshuma
Source: The Financial Gazette