Local manufacturers of cooking oil have decried the unavailability of raw materials in the country.
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, this has compelled manufacturers to import about 90% palm fruits from countries like Singapore and Malaysia.
Industry players have expressed serious concerns about how the situation is affecting growth of the sector. One of the major producers of cooking oil in Ghana, Wilmar African Limited for instance spends about 40 million dollars on imports of raw materials.
Speaking to Starr FM, the General Manager for Wilmar Africa, producers of Frytol, Mr. 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 producers are willing and ready to invest in their own oil palm plantations just as his company has done at Benso Oil Palm Planation (BOPP) however, prevailing conditions such as inadequate lands have become a key hindrance. ‘Our main issue here is the land acquisition because we do not have our own plantation, but the main challenge is how to increase and how to enlarge this plantation by having the land.’ He said.
Mr. Coulibaly called on government to step in to secure large tracts of lands for cultivation of palm fruits in order to reduce foreign exchange lost to importation. ‘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.’ He said.
Wilmar Africa acquired the Frytol franchise from Unilever in 2010 together with BOPP, since then, they have been commanding about 70% of the domestic market.
By: Nora Asiedu