MoA finalizes plan to provide land for oilseed cultivation

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Ministry of Agriculture has completed preparing its plan which will be used to propose cultivation land for edible oil producer industries, Capital has learnt.
Though the local edible manufacturing factories have production capacity to fully meet the demand of the country, Ethiopia is forced to import the product because of raw material shortage. On a meeting held on June 28, 2021 with the edible oil producers and the two ministries: that is, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Agriculture showed that the ministers had said that local production of oilseeds cannot meet raw materials demand for the local food processing industry, and this is stated as one of the challenges in the local production of edible oils. The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Agriculture have also promised to give land within one month to oil producers to cultivate oilseeds in collaboration with regional governments. The ministries plan to do so before the rainy season ends.
As Omar Hassan, minister of agriculture tells Capital, the two ministries have completed preparing their plan, “as we have said on the meeting to propose the land to the industries, the two ministries have finalized their proposals, whereas we are waiting to have meeting with the industries.”
The two ministries together are focusing to boost oil seeds production and create strong linkage between the agriculture and the manufacturing sector to end spending of hard currencies for importing processed agri-products.
As Omar said the plan will indicate where cultivation lands are found near the industries and after holding talk with the industries, they will avail the land.
The total number of active edible factories in Ethiopia has doubled in the past few years as joint ventures between government and private investors undergo to meet the demand over the past three years to substitute the importation of edible oil with domestic production. According to the Ministry of Trade, there are 232 oil industries in the country, 26 big industries and 206 medium and small industries which is still in vain. Together the industries have capacity to produce 1.25 billion liters of oil annually where the national consumption is 906 million metric ton annually, however as a result of shortage of input most of the industries are working under their capacity can’t meet the demand. Meanwhile only 40 percent of the total demand is currently covered by local edible product.
Some are under construction, when all of these edible oil factories become operational in a few years, the country is likely to substitute cooking oil imports more and more with local production and in the long-term, it should drive increased production of oilseeds locally.
“The government is assisting farmers in planting large pulse and oilseed plants on suitable land to reduce edible oil imports,” said Umer Hussien, Minister of Agriculture, adding that, “The country has huge capacity on producing oilseeds, there are huge industries but still there is huge oil shortage problem in the country, thus it requires an integrated work of all stakeholders.”
Oilseed production covers only 2.7 percent of the total production which is 6.61 percent of cultivated land from the total cultivated lands. Similarly, both new and old factories are facing challenges with input material.