(Business in Cameroon) - The Oilseeds Refiners Association (ASROC) requested authorization to import 100,000 tons of palm oil to complement the local supply for 2022. It finally increased that volume to 143,000 tons of palm oil, which will be imported duty-free. The authorization was given on January 31, 2022, by the Minister of Finance Louis Paul Motazé, as announced by the ASROC during a press conference held in Yaoundé on February 23, 2022.
This is the highest volume authorized since 2017. Indeed in 2017, the country imported 96,000 tons of palm oil, 100,000 tons in 2018 against 90,000 tons in 2019 and 70,000 tons in 2020. In 2021, the country imported 100,000 tons of the raw material, the ASROC reveals.
The increase in the volume of palm oil to be imported by Cameroon this year is due to the rise in sourcing challenges experienced by refiners, indicates Jacquis Kemleu, secretary-general (SG) of ASROC.
"The volume projected to be produced this month of February 2022 is 19,650 tons while the demand is 126,065 tons,” he added, pointing at the need to urgently start importing the raw material.
An actual deficit exceeding 1 million tons
According to the ASROC, whose members produce 95% of the vegetable oils and 98% of the soaps supplied in Cameroon, in early 2022, the structural deficit of palm oil reached 160,000 tons in the country, up from 130,000 tons previously. This increase in the deficit is due to the launch of the operations of a new refinery whose production capacity is 500 tons daily and the increase of the capacities of existing ones.
“The structural deficit of 130,000 tons that we always mention is a nominal deficit which is different from the actual deficit. This nominal deficit is calculated based on the 50% drop in the capacity of processing plants. When we consider the real capacities of processing plants, the gap is indeed way wider, since, as the ASROC-SG said, the actual demand exceeds one million tons,” said Emmanuel Koulou Ada, Head of the Oilseed Sector Regulatory Committee, in 2018.
As Jacquis Kemleu indicates, Cameroon produces some 400,000 tons of palm oil yearly while the industrial demand (that does not include demand from households demand) grew from 1.391 million tons to 1.512million tons yearly. This shows an actual demand exceeding 1 million tons every year.
Brice R. Mbodiam