GOVERNMENT has called on farmers to ramp up production of soyabean during the forthcoming season in order to meet local demand.
Soyabean production this year is expected to reach 71 290 tonnes against a national requirement of 240 000 tonnes.
Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, Douglas Karoro, told The Sunday Mail that Government was working on a plan to increase soyabean production.
“According to the second comprehensive Crop and Livestock Assessment Report, Zimbabwe is expected to harvest 71 290 tonnes of soyabean this year,” he said.
“The country requires a total of 240 000 tonnes. As you can see there is a huge gap between demand and actual production. We are, therefore, calling on farmers and contractors to increase area under soyabean production.”
Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA) chairperson Mr Ivan Craig said the shortage of mechanised farming equipment affected last year’s production.
He said Government should intensify its intervention to support soyabean producers.
“In terms of supporting farmers, there are two major funders: the Command Agriculture programme and the Presidential input scheme project,” Mr Craig said.
“The Presidential scheme enjoins farmers to sell their produce to the Grain Marketing Board and contribute positively to the strategic food reserve of the country. Government’s Command Agriculture programme is the one where they get funding. It is our hope that Government continues with these programmes thereby improving our economy by supplying industry with soyabean.
“We are hoping that over the next few seasons, Government through the Land Bank and others, will be able to provide machinery for farming and for harvesting in order to reduce loss through shuttering of crop.”
Soyabean is used to manufacture cooking oil, stock feed and detergents, including soap.