Electricity woes stall Kunthembwe OVOP cooking oil project

Two years after being given a Shell and Oil Processing Machine, Kunthembwe Cooking Oil Corporative Society in Blantyre is unable to start producing oil as the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) is failing to connect the cooperative with electricity.

The oil processing machinary at the Phalombe factory
The oil processing machinary at the Phalombe factory

The project falls under the One Village One Project (OVOP) initiative which was established in November 2003 to facilitate economic development and to help add value to locally produced products.

Kunthembwe Cooking Oil Corporative Society located in Traditional Authority (T/A) Kunthembwe in Blantyre was established after noting that farmers in the area produce good quality groundnuts.

According to Blantyre District OVOP Officer, Susan Kondwani, the oil processing machine that was given to Kunthembwe Cooking Oil Cooperative Society has not started working yet due to the lack of electricity in the area.

“As OVOP, we donated a Factory Shell and an Oil Processing Machine to the cooperative to be producing cooking oil but due to lack of electricity the cooperative has not yet started producing the cooking oil. It has been 2 years since the machine was installed,” she said.

Kondwani explained that OVOP was given a quotation of K7 million for electricity to be installed so that the Oil Processing Machine can start operating.

“Out of the K7 million, government can only be able to provide us with K1.5 million and as OVOP we have not been able to source the additional K5.5 million so that electricity can reach the area to help the farmers start producing the cooking oil,” she said.

OVOP provided Kunthembwe Cooking Oil Cooperative Society with MK6.2 million which was used in building a factory that is used by the group.

The Society, which comprises of 16 members, contributed land, bricks and sand towards the project.

Currently, Kunthembwe Cooking Oil Cooperative Society sale packed groundnuts and nsinjiro to Superior Market, OVOP Antenna Shop and Mt Soche Hotel with their sales ranging from MK 100, 000 to MK 500, 000 a month.

Similarly, a MK30 million NASFAM oil producing factory constructed in 2008 in Phalombe failed to kick start its activities after ESCOM failed to provide the factory with electricity.

ESCOM proposed that NASFAM purchase a transformer to the tune of MK5.9 million which saw the project being disbanded despite having the potential to produce over 30, 000 liters of cooking oil per month using sunflower seeds.


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