File photo: Folha de Maputo
Mozambique Imported cooking oil worth US$74.4 million during the first quarter of this year, at a time when the government has as one of its stated priorities the replacement of imports through local production.
Figures from the Bank of Mozambique’s Statistics and Reporting Department indicate that Mozambique spent around US$320.1 million importing cooking oil last year.
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADER) figures made public at the beginning of this year however suggest that the country has recently made considerable progress in producing oilseed, essential for reversing the import scenario.
MADER points out that production grew by 26% in the 2020-2021 campaign, especially in sunflower crops, which grew by 55%, followed by cotton (37%), soybeans (35%) and sesame (25%).
In Mozambique, oilseed production involves around 750,000 families, and involves minimal production technologies.
Overall, it is estimated that the country is producing around 400,000 tons of various oilseeds annually, with an average of around 150,000 tons of sesame, 104,000 tons of peanuts, 70,000 soy, 50,000 tons of cotton, 23,000 tons of copra and 7,000 tons of sunflower.
Despite these levels of production, Mozambique remains hostage to imports of cooking oil and similar derivatives. The government believes that creating more investment opportunities is key to reversing the dependence on imports.
The Institute of Cotton and Oilseeds of Mozambique (IAOM) espouses this strategy of producing more and importing less. Additionally, by-products from the production of cooking oil generate other business opportunities such as in animal nutrition or the production of biofuels.
The Bank of Mozambique Statistics Department also reveals that the country spent around US$56.7 million on rice imports in the first quarter of this year.
In 2021, rice imports cost the country about US$342.3 million in total, an increase on 2020, when Mozambique imported rice valued at US$227.8 million.