Kenya launches project to raise edible oil production, cutting import bill-Xinhua

Kenya launches project to raise edible oil production, cutting import bill

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-09-29 22:24:45

NAIROBI, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Friday rolled out a five-year project that seeks to promote local production of edible oil in a bid to cut imports.

Douglas Kangi, the director of crop resources, agribusiness and market development in the Ministry of Agriculture, said the initiative, dubbed Edible Oil Crop Promotion Project, will promote the production of edible oil crops in particular sunflower for the saving of forex reserves.

"We consume around 900 metric tonnes of edible oil, and only 6 percent is produced locally. We import the rest, spending around 120 billion shillings (about 809.2 million U.S. dollars) annually. This is a trend we want to reverse," he said.

He observed that the project would be implemented in 24 counties across Kenya, some of which are currently growing oil crops.

According to Kangi, the overall goal of the initiative is to raise local production of edible oils from the current 6 percent to at least 50 percent.

This, he said, will involve increasing the area under edible oil crops like sunflower, palm, coconut, soya bean, and canola from 4,000 acres (1,618 hectares) to 200,000 acres, training of farmers and the provision of more than 500 metric tonnes of seeds for planting.

Among all the edible oil crops, Kangi said the Kenyan government is keen on sunflower and the long-term target is to grow the crop on 1 million acres.

Dominic Menjo, the advisor to Kenya's President William Ruto on food security, said through the project, the country would lower its import bill which stood at 9.4 billion shillings in 2022.