Unlocking Business Potential in Mozambique: A Success Story from Oleos do Sul Coconut Oil factory

In the heart of Maxixe in the Inhambane province of Mozambique, lies a thriving coconut oil processing plant known as Oleos do Sul. Established in 2018, Oleos do Sul, meaning "Southern Oil" in Portuguese, was purchased by Southern Oil with a vision to enter the coconut crushing industry. The factory was formerly known as Vida Oils and today it’s where the coconut oil for the Nuts About Cooking range of oil and spray is processed.

Tropical Paradise

"Mozambique provides an ideal climate for coconut cultivation, with high humidity and regular rainfall fostering excellent nut growth," says Wessel Bouwer, the operations manager of Oleos do Sul. "This makes Mozambique a perfect fit for growing coconuts."

Oleos do Sul processes about 300 tons of copra (the sun-dried white flesh of the coconut) per month, which equates to approximately 1.6 million nuts. The processing process involves drying the received copra from 40% moisture to around 5%, after which it is pressed to attain the oil. This crude oil is then further refined to remove impurities. SOILL produces a range of coconut products, including the Nuts About Cooking Coconut Oil and Spray, as well as animal feed from the copra meal.

Working with Small-Scale Growers

With a focus on sustainability, community development, and quality, the processing plant is positively impacting the lives of local communities, by providing an income source to many locals. Oleos do Sul encourages all locals and small-scale growers to supply them with copra, which is sourced from trees growing on their land, thereby enabling economic upliftment in the community. Moreover, the plant shares its borehole water with all its neighbours at no cost.

Not without its challenges

However, running a factory in a rural part of Mozambique comes with its own set of challenges. "People are the ultimate differentiator, and although we have a great team, they were hard to find. Skill levels are not easy to come by. Equipment availability is second in line," says Wessel.

"To share an example, we are currently upgrading the bathrooms on-site, and finding an artisan to tile was the first challenge. But finding one that actually has a tile cutter for the installation was impossible. We had to source the tile cutter ourselves from Maputo. This takes time, and therefore keeping to tight schedules becomes challenging."

Meeting the Growing Demand

Despite the challenges, the production facility was recently upgraded, with a new press and additional drying capacity installed - and, together with his team of 77 employees, Wessel believes that they’re on the right path to increase overall factory throughput to meet the continuously growing demand for coconut oil.

"We're thankful for the increased capacity,” says Wessel. “Now our challenge is to stabilise production and establish continued operations. We are looking forward to continued growth and harnessing expansion opportunities to ensure the sustainability of our coconut division.”

Supplied by: Oleos do Sul.

Guzzle Media