Local production, value addition and beneficiation key to economic turnaround
AWARD-WINNING business executive and Chief Executive of United Refineries Limited, Mr Busisa Moyo has been one of the leading lights in giving fair and constructive comment on Zimbabwe’s economic issues on social media.
While some were busy pointing fingers at every direction in as far as the source of the economic challenges facing the country is concerned, Mr Moyo has been seeking to point out what could be the solution.
He has been unequivocal in suggesting that the answer to the country’s economy is resuscitating the manufacturing sector as well as the agricultural sector to produce enough to meet local demand.
“Let’s get our arguments on food products correctly. Our real problem is not a shortage of foreign currency. It’s low productivity in agriculture (for soya oil production). Last year 60,000mt vs 400,000mt installed capacity (demand requirement is 240,000mt). Foreign currency is needed when you haven’t grown but want to still eat and enjoy,” he said on microblogging site Twitter last week.
In addition, in an advert where United Refineries Limited clarified that it had not increased prices for cooking oil, the company added: “Furthermore, in a bid to reduce the forex component in our operations, we are inviting farmers to join our Soya Bean Out Grower Alliance (SOBOA) programme to expand the hectarage under soya for the coming agricultural season supported by various banks and input providers.
We have applied for 20 000 hectares of land near a viable water source (perennial river, dam or aquifer) for Joint Venture Farming from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Settlements as an import substitution measure.”
The low production in the agriculture sector in this instance was referring to ingredients needed to produce cooking oil, thus United Refineries Limited has embarked on an ambitious programme to make sure that the country produces enough and measures up to other areas that did extremely well under the Command Agriculture programme initiated by the Government.
Mr Moyo is on record as saying four financial institutions have committed to partnering United Refineries Limited to fund its soya bean out growers’ project as it forges ahead to satisfy its demand for the edible oil seed.
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Mr Busisa Moyo
Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu