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Manufacture of Vegetable and Animal Oils and Fat
The sector, which is dominated by vegetable oils and fats, is increasing production but remains a net importer. The country imported about 930,000 tons of vegetable and oilseed oil in the 2016/17 season including palm oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil, which accounted for 80% of local consumption as production of sunflower, soybeans, canola and groundnuts does not produce sufficient quantities to meet demand. Soybean production is expected to increase by 5% to 1,4 million tons in the 2017/18 marketing year, mainly due to an increase of 35% in area planted. Sunflower seed production is estimated to decrease by 16% to 731,505 tons. While area planted increased 8%, the sector experienced lower yields due to the drought. Forecasts indicate South Africa’s soybean and oilcake (meal) imports could decline by 27% and 17% year-on-year in the 2018/19 marketing year due to increased harvests.
Support and Investment
The manufacture of oils and fats from vegetables and animals is part of South Africa's agro-processing sector which has grown at over 2% per annum since 2013 and is identified as a catalyst for inclusive growth due to its ability to create more jobs than the primary agricultural sector. As a result, it has attracted high levels of support and investment, reflected in increased planted areas and processing capacity. Seed prices, however, remain under pressure, with most recent available figures showing marginal declines in the prices of sunflower seeds and marginal increases in the price of soybeans. The drought in has affected the edible oils sector. With almost 98% of the canola crop grown in the Western Cape, production declined in the 2017/2018 production season.
This report examines the major activities of the sector, the size and state of the industry and how the increase in processing capacity has shaped industry trends. Also discussed are the health and environmental concerns as well as the challenges brought about by the drought, competition issues, land expropriation and international trade conflict.