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Manufacture of Vegetable and Animal Oils and Fat
The value of sales of locally manufactured oils and fats derived from vegetables and animals amounted to R11.6bn in 2015. Of the approximately 1 million tons of soybeans, 664,000 tons of sunflower seeds, 100,000 tons of canola, and 60,000 tons of peanuts produced in 2015, more than 95% was processed into oils and fats. The sector employs some 15,000 people in processing, manufacturing and trading activities and supports thousands more oilseed farmers and farm labourers.
Support and Investment
The manufacture of oils and fats from vegetables and animals is part of South Africa's agro-processing sector which has enjoyed an average growth rate of over 2% since 2013, outstripping that of total manufacturing. It has been identified as a vital area for inclusive growth due to its ability to create more jobs than the primary agricultural sector and has received high levels of support and investment. The development and expansion of plants and refineries has resulted in a substantial increase in the sector's oilseed crushing capacity. In 2012, the industry's total oilseed crushing and processing capacity stood at 600,000 tons per annum; in 2016 the crushing capacity of soybeans alone reached 2.2 million tons per annum. However, the severe drought in 2015 and 2016 has had an adverse effect on the edible oils sector. Both emerging data for 2016/2017 and market forecasts suggest that the industry will suffer decreased production in the short-term, particularly in the soybean and groundnut segments.
This report examines the major activities of the sector, the size and state of the industry and how the increase in soybean processing capacity has shaped industry trends. Also discussed are the health and environmental concerns associated with vegetable oils and fats. The report profiles 15 companies, including market leaders Unilever South Africa (Pty) Ltd and DH Brothers Industries (Pty) Ltd t/a Willowton Group.