Sunflower Oil Processing
As in most of Southern and Eastern Africa, the rapidly growing poultry market and demand for high-quality cooking oil has meant that Tanzania must either rely on imported goods to meet its demand or, more commonly, poor consumers are forced to use lower-quality substitutes. Alternatives such as fish meal for chicken feed increase the risk of salmonella infection while locally pressed oil goes rancid quickly.
Partnerships promoting and producing quality seeds have proven effective, increasing national sunflower seed production threefold from 313,000 tonnes in 2009 to over a million tonnes in 2012. However, seed processed into sunflower oil is only a tenth of this amount. While surveys show that Tanzanians prefer sunflower oil, vast amounts of low quality, inexpensive palm oil is imported from Asia. In 2011, Tanzania imported over 227,000 tonnes of palm oil ($275 million)—over 50% of all vegetable oil consumed in the country. Hence, there is a strong demand for locally produced oil. As previously mentioned, sunflower seed processed into oil multiplies economic opportunities for smallholders but access to presses is limited.
Similarly, Tanzania's livestock industry is growing. Sunflower and soybean seed meal have the potential to replace the current fish-based livestock feed, increasing food security by improving local supply of animal protein content. However, the cheaper price and higher fat content of sunflower meal makes a mix with soya meal attractive because of lower total price and higher nutritional content.
CDI is interested in developing an oilseed processing facility for sunflower to develop the oilseed value chain. The project will benefit producers of raw crops as well as help increase the availability of affordable high quality animal feed and cooking oils. As with its groundnut project in Malawi, CDI is exploring joint venture opportunities with established regional companies to share financial and knowledge capital. Having identified synergies, CDI is commissioning an agro-processing feasibility study.