The Deputy Chairman of Oil Processors Cooperative Society in the State, Alhaji Ahmed Abdullahi, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Bauchi.
He said that their products could not compete favourably with similar ones imported into the country, thereby, hindering the expansion of their enterprise.
"Prices of imported products are lower than ours because the foreign companies have the technological advantage and the economies of large scale production.
"No matter how hard we try, we cannot compete with them and they have almost taken over the market," he said.
Abdullahi said there were 18 persons engaged in edible oil processing business in the state with over 200 youths employed by them, but that sometimes business had to be suspended because of numerous challenges.
He further said that apart from the youths engaged by his members in Bauchi, no fewer than 500 women earned a living from the by-products of their oil.
According to him, such women buy the waste product and use same in producing local soap called 'jangabo' and 'soda.'
"Apart from the unfair competition with foreign companies, those of us operating at small and medium scale levels also grapple with a second challenge from large scale producers within the country.
"We cannot compete with them in the procurement of raw materials, especially soya beans and groundnut. This is particularly worrisome in times of scarcity of such inputs.
"Such big companies buy the inputs in bulk because they have the storage facilities. Not only that, they also make juicy price offers which we cannot afford.
"This situation occurs mostly from February to July of every year when the inputs are scarce. Some of us are often forced to suspend production and temporarily lay off our staff," he added.
He appealed to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to reserve some of its silos spread across the states for the storage of groundnuts and soya beans.
Abdullahi said the ministry should sell the silos to small and medium scale edible oil processors at affordable prices in times of scarcity.
Culled from Punch