Stakeholders target soya bean self sufficiency

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Stakeholders target soya bean self sufficiency 
The soya bean product imports category has soya bean seed, crude and refined oil, soya sauce as well as oil cake and other solid residues of soya beans.

Edgar VheraAgriculture Specialist Writer

Oil seed stakeholders are targeting 120 000 hectares of soya bean for meal self-sufficiency in line with Government’s import substitution drive through increased local production.

This was revealed at the post-harvest oil seed indaba hosted by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) in Harare yesterday.

The conference ran under the theme: “Positioning the oil seed value chain for growth and profitability.”

The country saved US$103 million in soya bean products import between 2022 and 2023 due to increased local soyabean production.

Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) said the area under soya bean rose from 46 158 hectares in 2021/22 season to 55 944 in the 2022/23 period. 

Production rose from 82 028 tonnes to 93 086 tonnes in the same period. 

Statistics released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStats) show that soya bean products import declined 28 percent from US$361 068 423 in 2022 against US$258 399 457 last year.

The soya bean product imports category has soya bean seed, crude and refined oil, soya sauce as well as oil cake and other solid residues of soya beans.

These products are mainly used in cooking oil production and stockfeed manufacturing, as well as various by-products. 

Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe (OEAZ) representative, Mr Roderick Musiyiwa, said the most pragmatic step was to increase soya bean production for the country to be self-sufficient in meal production.

“The country requires around 250 000 tonnes of oilseeds to be crushed to meet the annual demand of soya meal. This output can be achieved by putting around 120 000 hectares under soya bean at an average yield of two tonnes per hectare,” he said.

Processing soya bean seed produces meal/cake and crude oil which is then refined to cooking oil.

One kilogramme of soya bean seed yields 77 percent meal, 18 percent crude oil with 5 percent going to waste.

To increase oil seed production OEAZ is contracting farmers as well as providing a ready market for self-financing growers.

The country has an annual cooking oil demand of around 180 000 tonnes, this requires over 500 000 hectares to be put under soya bean to produce one million tonnes of the product.

Speaking at the same Indaba, Food Crop Contractors Association (FCCA) chairperson, Mr Graeme Murdoch, said their members are taking heed of the Government’s directive for industry players to fund at least 40 percent of their raw material from local production.

“The FCCA has increased soya bean production from 11 609 hectares in the 2020/21 season to 30 692 in the 2023/24 season, a 164 percent increase.

Output surged 78 percent from 34 827 tonnes to 62 000 over the same period,” the FCCA chair said.

The FCCA, CBZ Agro-Yield, AFC, NMB and ARDA are primarily funding commercial soya bean growers with the Presidential Input Scheme (PIS) funding small-scale farmers.

“The bulk of the soya bean produced in the country is for the stockfeed industry and with any shortage met through imports mainly from Zambia. Zambia production dropped 50 percent last year due to El Nino drought and prices and if Zimbabwe doesn’t up production our stockfeed industry will suffer,” he added.

Stakeholders concurred that there was need to promote soyabean production through addressing high cost of production, lack of funding and low output price for self-sufficiency.