Prisons starts processing palm oil at Kimbiji plant

05Jul 2019
Beatrice Philemon
The Guardian
Prisons starts processing palm oil at Kimbiji plant

THE Prisons Department has started processing palm oil at its recently-completed plant in Bagamoyo, Coast region, in a bid to help the country cut dependency on imported edible oil which stands at 60 per cent.

Tanzania Prisons Marketing Officer, Assistant Superintendent of Prisons Yunge Saganda said yesterday at the ongoing 43rd Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair that the plant has a capacity to produce 2000 litres of palm oil and 1000 litres of palm nut oil per day.

“To start with, we have already begun to produce 300 litres of palm oil per day for the domestic market, mainly for use by Prisons officers and inmates as well as soap-making in small and medium industries,” she said.

The plant, located at Kimbiji, whose construction was completed last December, is operated by Prisons officials working with inmates through rehabilitation programmes the department operates, ASP Saganda said.

So far around 200 acres of land has been allocated at Kimbiji for palm tree farming so that the plant obtains raw materials for palm oil and palm nut oil production.

“We decided to build this plant after discovering that the demand of palm oil and palm nuts oil is huge in the market," she said.

“Apart from that, we are right now waiting for other production machines for palm oil nuts so that we can supply the product to entrepreneurs and industries for soap making while others use it domestically,” the officer noted.

In a bid to increase production, the department plans to build another plant at Kwitanga in Kigoma region whose feasibility study is underway, she stated.

A wide ranging shortage of edible oil was felt last year after six local refineries suspended production of the commodity for lack of unrefined oil.

Since then, the government has been seeking investments in edible oil processing to help bridge a supply gap of 320,000 tonnes.

Tanzania’s annual demand for edible oil stands at 500,000 tonnes, whereas the country can supply around 180,000 tonnes and is thus compelled to import 320,000 tonnes annually.

With demand forecast to rise from 500,000 at present to 700,000 tonnes by 2030, “there is a growing market for investors the product for the foreseeable future,” she added.