Government has suspended the issuance of licences for importation on edible oil, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Given Lubinda has said.

Mr Lubinda told the Zambia Daily Mail yesterday when he received a delegation from Argentina that the indefinite suspension is with effect from March 14.

“This decision has been made to allow experts from the ministries of Finance; Commerce; and the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to study the impact the importation of vegetable oil has on the Zambian market,” he said.

Mr Lubinda said his office has received complaints from Zambian producers, manufactures and consumers that the country has been flooded with imported oil.He said the findings of the experts will be made public as soon as investigations are concluded.

And Mr Lubinda says Government is looking at possible ways of diversifying the agriculture sector.

Mr Lubinda said the rate of diversification of agricultural production among small-scale farmers in the country is low.He said the Argentine government should consider tapping into agro-processing as Zambia produces enough but lacks value addition.

“Maize is our staple food in Zambia but we export it and import things like cornflakes that are made from maize. This would not be the case if we had the machinery and knowledge of how to make finished products,” the minister said.

He said Zambia has no capacity to produce finished products, hence the need to have stakeholders come on board to educate and train small-scale farmers.

“We encourage the private sector in Argentina to set up plants for small-scale farmers in Zambia because it will be a great investment which will benefit countries in the southern [African] region,” he said.

And Deputy head of mission of the embassy of Argentina Jorge Diaz de Biasi said his government looks forward to supporting key areas of intervention such as technologies and agriculture research.

He presented a draft agreement of the areas of co-operation that Argentina is ready to support once the agreement is finalised.
Mr de Biasi said the Argentine government is ready to render its assistance and will have the draft agreement signed with other sub-Saharan countries once the Zambian experts study it.

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36 COMMENTS

  1. Good move and please stick to it. We don’t want to hear change the statement tomorrow just because my people China and SA wants you to do otherwise.

    China.

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    • Trying to sound intelligent as usual Power Failure. You listen to the opposition and try to use their ideas. Let those who have the know-how step in and run the country. We are tired of people who have no clue – relying on guess work.

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    • A few reasons why this is wrong.
      1. A wholesale clamp on importation of edible oils is just dumb. We do not produce canola oil or many others abundant with Omega-H3 fats except for soya which causes a lot of allergies. For the uninitiated, Omega-H3 reduces cholesterol.
      2. You are going against free trade (still remember you are in COMESA?).
      3. Our oil manufacturers are inefficient and produce bad quality oils. Removing competitively priced good quality imported oils will only encourage to be complacent.
      4. The type of cooking oil i eat matters. For some of you oil is oil.

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    • Honestly KK was way ahead of his political game, He put up ZAMEFA in Luanshya to manufacture cables from copper.
      Under KK there was Dunlop manufacturing tyres, LENCO, assembling Leyland trucks and trailers, FIAT assembly plant in Livingstone, ITT supersonic assembling radios and music systems.

      The country laughed at KK when he announced that his govt was looking at extracting oil (diesel) from grass….what do we have today? biodiesel.

      Most of the infrastructure seen in the country today were built by KK under UNIP

      MMD was the most miserable political party to have ruled Zambia, and PF is reversing the negatives under MMD.

      UPND simply has no capacity and capability to handle the development challenges and meet the expectations for the country and its people.

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    • GEN some great points on kk there. . . But PF is not reversing MMD ills. They are borrowing not to invest in capital projects.the constantly depreciating kwacha, high govt debt, high interest rates, grz acting like big brother is not an environment that is encouraging investment. The economy is no longer stable, fuel shortages said as much.

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    • I do agree with you. Suspend the importation of used cars- everyday hundreds thousands of USDs are bought for importing cars. Bite the bullet now if it means propping up the Kwacha.

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    • Great idea ba Sponge Bob that will protect the numerous factories that are manufacturing and assembling motor vehicles here in Zambia….. NOT. Which industry are you protecting by banning used vehicles? The bicycle assemblies in Chipata? Whats is needed is to regulate the QUALITY of used vehicles coming into Zambia so we don’t end up with recycled wrecks. Go to S.A and inspect a certified used car and compare that to the junk being spewed from Japan. Maybe you are blessed enough to buy brand new Mercedes from Southern Cross (or whatever its called) but think of others and not just yourself. Do all your relatives, friends and associates buy only brand new vehicles? Even in progressive economy like S.A not everybody buys brand new.

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    • Oh my! You have an appropriate blog name, no wonder your comment is spongy. So then you will begin to manufacture cars where you can stick those archaic reflectors and shove those silly Zambian-approved triangles? Weshilu weee.

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    • To ban importation of used cars is thoughtless. The government needs to bring in stiffer laws on the importation of second hand cars. Some of the cars brought in from Japan have been in accidents. The age of the car should also be considered. How many Zambians can afford a car straight from the showroom. Look at the prices at Toyota Zambia. CFAO, Southern Cross and Pilatus.

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  2. It is the good move by government.Now try to in power the small scale farmers,on fished product.They don’t have the capacity to do business on their on.Government has the capacity through banks.Give them enough money though loans.They can do it.Government always give out big moneys to foreigners.In power the local people,the local people will help their fellow locals, by so doing Zambia will develop on the fast rate.The depreciation of the kwacha will be the thing of the past.

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    • Small scale fish farmers are already being in powered.Recently kalulushi farmers were given loans(Educated) and they are being monitered closely so that they don’t fail to pay back the loans.

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  3. Talking of cars. Here in Zambia you will find that families have cars for each member of the family. We think this is status symbol. In the USA which is million years richer than us, the government encourages families to use only one vehicle. To this effect there are roads which are only for vehicle carrying more than two persons. These roads are the easiest as they are rarely congested. Rationale is that the less vehicles moving the more the country will save on fuel. And yet the country is very but not wasteful like us who are actually beggars. We buy petro for no purpose but just to drive around from bar to bar.

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    • Do not argue in a vacuum, fellow blogger. The US that you speak of has decent public amenities and good infrastructure to enable their people to go without a car forever. In Zed you cannot even find a good foot path when it rains!

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    • One cannot compare Zambia to road infrastructures in the west. If the public transport here was decent, clean and reliable more people would use it and this would reduce congestion on our roads. That is why we prefer to drive our cars.

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  4. I hope the honorable minister has put in place measures to curb the smuggling in of the same cooking oil otherwise I can see a major upswing in smuggling in of the same. Congrats ZRA officers at the border more money in your ………… Remember the 90’s it was by the truckloads……

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  5. Timely interventions like this one are good. But the biggest issue is how to ensure the proceeds from such ventures remain in our local banks and ultimately benefit the nation wholesomely. Remember we have not yet gotten a solution to our free falling Kwacha.

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  6. Does this mean that Zambia will now grow olives and produce olive oil ? I don’t like “saladi” the country is dead broke and we are going back to stinking rop “saladi” not fit for human consumption. Bo lubinda will be using imported south african oil …. kulibe this is protectionism – some deals are going on with the Argentinan businessmen to set up plants and rake in profits, this is an automated industry which will not need manpower, all managers will be argentitnans or south africans, Zambians will be watchmen and cleaners.

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  7. On what grounds? Why should my choice be restricted in a free market? Are we trying to bring Monopoly in the Country where local manufacturers don’t have competition and can price their products as they wish? So, if in turn, the government of those other countries ban importing products from Zambia, how helpful will that be? Kwacha has depreciated and imports are becoming more expensive. If imported cooking is still cheaper, then local manufacturers are stealing from us.

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  8. Bo Lubinda why ban when you can merely increase duty on such oils coming in…there are more innovative ways to promote Zambian made products; what are you doing to make our manufacturers competitive, remove duty on brand new commercial machinery for refining edible oils.

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    • Walasa,when USA industries started importing cheaper steel from China,the local US steel manufactures suffered a lot, so instead of banning importation of cheap steel from china, the US government just increased tariffs on imported steel.Of course China cried, but the US reminded China that your yuan is actually strong than you purport it to be.revalue your currency so that the playing field is leveled!In our case, they should have just increased duty on a similar oil like the one already being manufactured locally!

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  9. Trying to save forex?. Such ad hoc measures bring problems to the economy. This should have been planned for months ahead. Farmers should have known about this in June last year in order for them to increase the hactarage for oil crops. I very much doubt that the country will have adequate supply of edible oils on the market, so there will be shortages and the prices will rise. Yes Given, what you said to the Argentines is what the country needs, please continue on that path.

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  10. There will soon be queues for cooking oil, trust me. This idea of crunching numbers and then taking a decision without looking at the bigger picture must stop. Stop these guys from taking us back to commandist policies of UNIP before we all forget what century this is. Work out more coherent restraints and facilities before you start putting bottlenecks on people’s livelihoods.

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  11. Banning foreign products is not the answer I’m afraid. You could impose more duty, but somehow this would not be fair on the average citizen.

    It’s a tricky equation to balance, as the government should be seen to protect and encourage local manufacturing. I support this.

    But the quality of products from the locals should improve vastly first. You don’t pull the mat under yourself while still on it

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  12. this ban is pointless the government is not empowering the people remember a lot of people are depending on these importation to feed their families now how are they going to do that. by the way I see it this is a conspiracy between the government and the companies in zambia.

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  13. Zambians go for cheaper cooking oil the zambian products are very expensive , that is why we prefer imported things . why is it that it is only in Zambia where things are expensive ? For example in congo things are cheap . people to congo to buy phones for sale and yet they are not manufactured in Congo ? of late cooking oil has becom expensive . PIck and pay is very expensive than shopright

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  14. We do not grow enough sunflower or any other crop that can be used as raw material for making cooking oil. Local companies can not satisfy Zambian market so we are going back to UNIP, everything control, control but no quality. There is a serious drought this year and Given Lubinda start planning well ahead what you are going to feed the people of Zambia.

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