The Chipata District Farmers Association (CDFA) says there is need for the expansion of the sunflower cooking oil project.
Association Coordinator Vigil Malambo said the expansion of the project would lead to a reduction of cooking oil prices in the country.
The high prices of cooking oil entail that there is low supply and high demand, hence we need to engage more farmers to produce raw materials needed for the production of cooking oil so that within a given yield, there is increased production of raw materials needed for the processing of cooking oil. In this way, the prices of the commodity may go down,
Mr. Malambo said.
He said that for this to be possible, there is need for support from government to look into enterprises involved in sunflower cooking oil, if the country is going to benefit.
Sunflower seeds are locally grown and if there is going to be support from the government to these enterprises, there will be high production of raw materials and ultimately a decrease in the importation of cooking oil,
Mr. Malambo added that the K1.2 billion project which was supported by the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) was aimed at promoting value addition and has ran from June 2019 to June 2021, benefiting farmers as well as the association.
Meanwhile, sunflower farmer Micheal Banda says the project has been of great benefit to not only sunflower farmers but cotton too.
Cotton is a labor intensive crop. The fact that the project has provided us with machinery has made it easier for me to plant cotton as well. It has come as an alternative crop to sunflower,
Mr. Banda said.
Mr. Banda further added that despite sunflower farming being a good practice, sunflower is not taken as a priority crop by most farmers.
The buying of sunflower is a little bit erratic because farmers treat it as the least crop, they only consider planting sunflower seeds after other crops. This is one of the challenges that come with sunflower farming, it therefore needs to be taken as a priority,