The East African nation of Tanzania is planning to increase its production of edible oil crops in order to wean its import-dependent cooking oil market off foreign products.

In a call with Tanzanian high commissioner to Malaysia Ramadhan Dau, the country’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said Tanzania was ready for major investment into the production of oil palm, sunflower and sesame crops, reported Devdiscourse on 28 June.

Majaliwa said that Tanzania had the potential to reduce its dependency on edible oil imports, but its agriculture sector was hindered by inefficient traditional farming methods, which the government now wanted to replace with more modern practices.

To this end, the country expected to cooperate with Malaysia, which Majaliwa said had successfully made progress in agriculture and industrialisation.

Investment in, and improvement of, the production of the three named crops would not only help the government cut back on imports, but also improve the livelihoods of Tanzanian smallholder farmers, according to Majaliwa.

Tanzania imported nearly 50% of its annual edible oil demand of 200,000-300,000 tonnes, which demonstrated a healthy domestic market and a potential to develop the production of groundnut, sunflower, oil palm, sesame, coconut and cotton farming in the country, wrote Devdiscourse.