TANZANIA – The Chinese agribusiness group Mainland plans to complete the construction of a new sunflower oil manufacturing plant in Dodoma, Tanzania, by December this year.

Xie Weijiang, China’s Yueyang City Mayor, and 18 other delegates recently toured the construction site and confirmed that the factory is expected to start operations in December.

Mobilizing a total investment of US$28 million, the unit will be able to process between 30,000 and 35,000 tons of sunflower seeds per year, depending on the availability of local supply.

 “The factory is very modern and will produce high-quality oil from sunflower seeds,” said the mayor.

According to information relayed by local news, the project also includes the installation of four silos with a combined storage capacity of 30,000 tons of oilseeds.

The plant plans to house a production line for animal feed derived from sunflower oilcake.

Additionally, Mainland Group Agro Process Tanzania trades various agro-products such as maize, soybeans, cotton, sesame, cashews, cassava, rice, sorghum, coffee beans, cocoa beans, and agricultural by-products like corn starch, soybean meal, and cottonseed cake.

While welcoming the delegation, Diana Ladislaus, Tanzania Investment Officer, mentioned that the firm will create 500 permanent jobs and has committed to transferring technology and skills to locals.

In Tanzania, Oilseed cultivation occupies an area of more than 520,000 hectares, mainly in Singida, Rukwa, Iringa, Dodoma, and Njombe, with sunflower seed production estimated at 500,000 tonnes per year.

However, official data indicates that Tanzania relies on imports for 64% of its edible oil needs, estimated at 500,000 tonnes annually.

Last year, the Tanzania National Service (JKT) embarked on a robust project to reduce imports and boost the production of sunflower and palm oil to support the government in addressing the country’s edible oil shortage.

This effort is part of the government’s initiative to increase oilseed cultivation and production, aiming to cut down the importation of edible oil, which costs the country TSH 470bn (US$201M) annually.

Records show that the country’s demand for edible oil stands at 650,000 tonnes annually, while production capacity is estimated at only 290,000 tonnes, leaving a deficit of 360,000 tonnes.

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