Local cooking oil penetrates market

Gwizi showing the Arona products. PIC: KABO MPAETONA
Gwizi showing the Arona products. PIC: KABO MPAETONA

Producers of local cold pressed virgin sunflower oil, Arona Sunflower Oil, which ventured into the industry last year, have managed to secure distribution deals with major local retailers.

Arona Natural Food’s cooking oil can now be found on the shelves of international retail giant Woolworths and Choppies’ outlets at Westgate and Northgate.

The company’s managing director, Fannie Gwizi said that they are pursuing other potential buyers outside Botswana, as they are keen to penetrate the export market. 

“We have struck a very interesting deal with Woolworths and through them we will be taking our product to Namibia, Zambia and South Africa. Super Spar have also confirmed that they will be selling our products, we hope that by next month, our product will be in their stores,” he said.

Gwizi noted that Arona Cold Press Sunflower cooking oil has fulfilled the requirements for use by South African Heart and Stroke Foundation, an internationally recognised symbol that meant the product was healthy; especially suitable for people with heart conditions. Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) has also certified the product.

“Arona virgin cold press sunflower cooking oil is natural and organic not chemically modified (not refined) and retains the distinct taste and aroma,” he explained.

Gwizi added that Arona oil is suitable for salads, as a marinate, and is high in Vitamin E, polyunsaturated fats and energy.

At the launch of the cooking oil last year, Gwizi revealed that they had invested P5 million into the project and currently produce 34 000 litres of cooking oil per month at its Phakalane plant. He added that the project has created 18 jobs with a potential to employ 34 people at full capacity. Arona Natural Foods produces cold pressed virgin sunflower oil and sunflower by-products like sunflower cakes (crushed and non crushed) for livestock and poultry feeding.

The sunflower seed is sourced from local farmers.Last month, another local firm; United Refineries Botswana (URB), launched its P100 million factory in Francistown. The citizen-owned oil company manufactures olive oil, cooking oil, margarine and mayonnaise under the ‘SunGold’ brand.United Refineries is anticipated to create jobs for almost 500 Batswana. The company will produce 70 tonnes of oil per day with 2,500 – 3,000 tonnes produced monthly. The oil will be sold in Botswana and exported to other African countries.

Editor's Comment
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How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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