In Brief

Kenya seeks Indonesia expertise to develop edible oil value chain

President William Ruto, CS Trade and Industry Moses Kuria and his Agriculture counterpart Mithika Linturi will host a delegation of Indonesian government officials and private companies in Nairobi next week to discuss an agreement for mutual development of the edible oil industry in Nairobi.

The Indonesian delegation will be led by Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, who is Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs. The talks will seek to support farmers in counties of Lamu, Kwale, Tana River, Taita Taveta, Homeboy, Migori, Kisumu and Busia through an out growers scheme and large scale plantation farming.

In the FY2023/24 Budget, the President is promising to deliver 200 MT of assorted seed of canola, sunflower, soya and 10,000 coconut seedlings and disburse Kes42 million to 840 farmers as loans in Kwale, Mombasa, Taita Taveta, Tana River and Kilifi counties under the National Edible Oil Crops Project.

Kenya has been hit by high cooking oil prices following disruption in the global supply chain. The cost of a litre shot up from Kes346 in February, Kes430 in March, Kes408 in April to Kes455 in June according to market intelligence firm, Research and Markets.

Currently, Kenya imports crude palm oil worth $1 billion annually mainly through five companies of Bidco, Kapa Oil, Pwani Oil, Menengai and Golden Africa.

Last December, the prices of edible oil skyrocketed to Kes480 per litre forcing the government to import edible oil through Kenya National Trading Corporation in a bid to reduce the retail price. Kenya issued the controversial duty waiver on 125,000 tonnes of edible oils to compete with local manufacturers in a bid to bring prices down, a move that has not made considerable impact.

Kenya now wants to turn to Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer, to help her become self-sufficient in edible oils production through large scale farming of palm oil, sunflower oil and soya beans.

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