Local producers of cold pressed virgin sunflower oil, Arona Sunflower Oil, have managed to penetrate the market within three years of operation.
The Arona Natural Food’s cooking oil can now be accessed at the international retail giant Woolworths, Choppies stores, Sefalana Hyper supermarkets both in Gaborone and Francistown, Super Spar as well as some supermarkets.
The company’s managing director, Fannie Gwizi, said in an interview that they are penetrating the local market and have just signed another deal with Pick’n Pay.
“We appreciate the reception we have received as we even supply the hospitality industry including Cresta hotels, Grand Palm Hotel, Phakalane Hotel as well as restaurants across the country,” he said.
According to Gwizi, the dream is to make Arona Cooking Oil a household brand locally before reaching the outside market.
There are also plans to build a salad dressing plant as part of their efforts to empower locals and create employment. Currently they get the sunflower that is used for the production of the cooking oil from Pandamatenga farms as well as other farms locally.
“When I started this business, I realised that farms were producing sufficient sunflower but didn’t have the market. I then took this opportunity to produce oil and buy sunflowers from them and I am grateful that even up to
The company is also pursuing other potential buyers outside Botswana, with the intention to penetrate the export market with Zimbabwe being the first one as talks are already on with the northern neighbour.
Gwizi says Arona Cold Press Sunflower cooking oil had fulfilled the requirements for the use of South African Heart and Stroke Foundation, an internationally recognised symbol, thus declaring the product healthy and especially suitable for people heart conditions. It is also certified by the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS).
“Arona virgin cold press sunflower cooking oil is natural and organic not chemically modified (not refined) and retains the distinct taste and aroma,” Gwizi confidently declared.
Moreover, said Gwizi, Arona oil is suitable for salads, ideal for marinating, high in Vitamin E, high in polyunsaturated fats and high in energy. During the launch of the cooking oil, Gwizi stated that they have invested P5 million into the project.
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.