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KoT and Why Cooking Oil Prices are Rising Rapidly

Ordinary Kenyans are feeling the heat after cooking oil prices tripled in the past twenty-four (24) months something that had triggered Kenyans on Twitter and other Social Media platforms to call for lower food prices under a hashtag #LowerFoodPrices.

Buying cooking oils has become a luxury and this is happening at the time when our chubby and fat politicians are assembling themselves in the useless self-centred political shells with an aim to cut a wide swathe and votes.

Last week, edible oils subsector chairman, Abdulghani Alwojih was quoted by the Business Daily stating that manufacturers of cooking oil were now buying palm oil, the main raw material at between Sh200,534 per metric tonne and Sh225,522, this he said was after the escalation of the Ukraine-Russia war.

But why is the Kenyan government-which has been boasting internationally that Agriculture is the country’s backbone- importing Ukrainian palm oils that can be grown and processed locally?

“There is an agency in government called Nuts and oil crops Directorate. These people are supposed to develop the oil crops value chains. What do they do? Kenya can grow many oil crops including palm oil trees and sunflowers. We shouldn’t be relying almost wholly on imports. It is sad we pay so many people in government without any productivity,” Ephrain Njenga shared on his Twitter fan account.
Oil
According to this writers background checks, Nuts and Oil crops Directorate is mandated to;
  1. Develop and maintain a database on the Nuts and Oil Crops subsector and provide market information to the value chain players;
  2. Conduct market analysis on trends and opportunities in order to develop appropriate marketing and product development strategies for the Nuts & Oil Crops commodities;
  3. Capacity building value chain players (manufacturers, traders, agents and other stakeholders) to take advantage of market requirements
  4. Provide trade promotional services in local and international markets by creating linkages between manufacturers and buyers.
  5. Facilitate value addition and product development in the nuts and oil crops subsector.
Kenya is a big importer of vegetable oils such as sunflower oils, soybean, corn oil and commonly used crude palm oil mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia.
Back to Ephraim Njenga’s Twitter thread, Kenyan tax payers are coughing out millions of shillings in wages, allowances and other dues paying fat, lazy and functionally illiterate directors.
The palm oil from which most of our cooking oil is produced comes from Malaysia and Indonesia. These two countries account for close to 90% of the worlds output. Ukraine and Russia are the leading producers of sunflower oil accounting for 70% of global production. This concentration of output in a few countries creates massive risks. The production of palm oil in the Asian countries was constrained by the pandemic. Now we have two other major producers engaged in war. Prices of cooking oil will continue rising under such circumstances. Our policymakers should think hard about the ways in which we can raise domestic cooking oil production. In as much as global factors are to blame for current spike in prices, the government is also to blame. We have enough land and excellent climate. We should be exporting cooking oil. This requires clear policies and deliberate government intervention,” Njega shared on Twitter
The biggest question here is that, how come nobody from the government nor major FMCG manufacturers have engaged farmers?
It is sickening but also a fact that hundreds of Kenyan farmers grow sunflower to feed their cows.
According to edible oils subsector chairman, Abdulghani Alwojih there’s still much to be done, especially grom the government side in order to cushion Kenyans from the full brunt of the price hike.

For instance, FMCG are calling for the scrapping of the 3 percent railway development levy (RDL) and import declaration fee (IDF).

Mr Alwojih also stated that not only scrapping  of the 3 percent RDL and IDF but also the ERC and EPRA need to review the cost of fuel and electricity among other possible interventions.

While politicians are thinking only on who to bring on their side to win elections – or rig in whose favour- it now costs twice as much to buy a litre of cooking oil compared to petrol!

This needs to change, people feeding on the backs of ordinary Kenyans needs to stop this nonsense.

In Kenya, each and every sector there is a parastatal/agency stumbling block. All these meaningless folks suffocating Kenyans with regulations, levies and/or bribes.


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