SENEGAL – The Senegalese National Oilseed Marketing Company (Sonacos) plans to invest between 10 and 13 billion CFA francs (US$16 to 21 million) to support diversification toward cashew oil production.
SONACOS is among the largest food company in Senegal with a total crushing capacity of 900,000 tons of peanuts per year spread across its 5 main production sites in Kaolack, Ziguinchor, Diourbel, Louga, and Dakar.
The announcement was made by Modou Diagne Fada, the general manager of Sonacos who stressed that recurring groundnut shortage was the main motivation for the shift towards cashew processing for oil.
Senegal is a main producer of peanut oil in West Africa. However, Sonacos highlights that the peanut processing industry has been running below capacity for close to a decade, due to a shortage of primary groundnuts.
The shortage of local groundnut supply is ascribed to the poor distribution of rainfall in the production areas and fierce competition from local exporters who offer higher prices. attractive to operators.
According to Sonocos, since the start of the groundnut campaign last November, the oil producer has only managed to collect 16,000 tons of groundnuts despite an average purchase price higher than the farm gate price of 275 FCFA/kg.
“Sonacos cannot, for the 2022-2023 peanut campaign, be satisfied with such a supply to make its industry work. Because of the decline in groundnut production, our main sector, we are forced to diversify of our activities,” said Mr. Fada.
According to the manager, the announced investment in cashew should enable the company to support cash flow and maintain seasonal jobs by the end of the year.
While the next cashew nut campaign will open next April, Sonacos plans to import from Guinea Bissau, a neighboring country well positioned on the international nut market, to ensure a sufficient supply of the material. first in addition to the local offer.