Zim oil expressers urged to grow soya beans

Zim oil expressers urged to grow soya beans
Published: 05 October 2017
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya, has urged local oil expressers to ensure a steady production of soya beans locally as the country was losing millions to the importation of soya beans and crude oil.

"The manufacturers need to wake up and smell the coffee. They cannot continue to import crude oil. This is September; they need to put their act together," said Mangudya.

The central bank governor said growing soya beans locally was a panacea to the problems facing the sector, which saw marginal price increases last week after shortages triggered panic buying.

"They need to start growing soya beans and convert it into cooking oil. We import 1 000 tonnes of crude soya oil and produce 900 tonnes of oil because of wastages - that is not economics. They should now begin to grow soya beans, sunflower and cotton for cooking oil," said Mangudya.

Zimbabwe imports crude oil from South Africa worth US$119 million and soya meal valued at US$47,3 million from Zambia annually, according to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) .

Soya bean imports last year drained US$172 million from the economy, with farmers failing to meet demand from the country's oil expressers.

Zimbabwe currently produces 30 000 tonnes of soya beans, against demand of about 150 000 tonnes, according to research.

Speaking to The Financial Gazette last week, Seedco chief executive officer, Morgan Nzwere, said the country had potential to meet its own demand for soya beans if proper funding was channelled towards the sector.

"It is possible to produce soya beans in Zimbabwe but what we need is proper funding and also make sure that the market is there. Sometimes farmers produce only for prices to fall, because externally prices are lower or imports are landing at a cheaper price and this discourages farmers," said Nzwere.

However, the Oil Expresser Association of Zimbabwe (OEAZ) is on record saying that the cost of producing soya beans was far higher than the cost of imports and urged government to subsidise the crop.

"Other countries are subsidising certain key inputs like treated seedlings and fertiliser to ensure low costs in soya production," OEAZ president, Busisa Moyo, said.

The association also argues that the sector had received a paltry 30 percent in foreign currency allocation to import soya beans.

OEAZ has been finding the export market rough as the local edible oil is 45 percent pricier than other regional products, a situation that has left many companies with excess stock which could come to waste upon expiry.
- fingaz
Tags: Mangudya,


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