LOW market uptake for soya-meal that is used in the manufacture of stock feed is capping farmers from increasing soya bean production. This has left oil expressers with inadequate supplies of the commodity from the local market.
There is overwhelming supply of soya meal, as a by-product of soya bean crushing, with little left for crude oil processing and industry players are calling on Government intervention to facilitate export market for soya meal to maximise returns for farmers.
Zimbabwe currently has excess soya meal (net of local demand) for Southern African region of 390 000mt but has a soya bean deficit of 120 000mt which is covered through importation. During crushing, 77 percent of the soya bean is churned out as soya meal, while only 18 percent is crude oil used for edible oils and five percent rendered wastage.
The challenge is that the local soya meal market cannot absorb the meal and this has left huge stocks of soya meal without a sustainable market domestically thereby discouraging farmers from increasing production.
This came out at the Edible Oils Indaba-Private Sector Caucus held recently in Harare, where the Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe (OEAZ) implored Government to come up with a sound export strategy for soya meal and to come up with ways to ensure oil expressers do not continue importing crude oil when the country has capacity to produce.
“Currently crude oil requirements cannot be entirely met by local soya bean crushing as the soya meal market cannot absorb the meal. Soya bean demand at the present moment is therefore capped by low soya meal demand and this gives an opportunity to explore export markets for the meal,” OEAZ official Mr Busisa Moyo revealed.
Currently, Zimbabwe needs 150 000 metric tonnes of soya bean against a local production of 30 000 metric tonnes. The deficit of 120 000 tonnes covered through importing.
Producers of cooking oil have been the most hit by this as total demand for crude oil used in the manufacturing of edible oils is at 120 000mt. The local supply is at a minimal 7 200mt, leaving them grappling with importing crude oil.
The current scenario has led to a rapid increase in cooking oil prices since mid last year as foreign currency shortages to settle external suppliers of crude oil have escalated production costs for local processors. To counter the challenge, Mr Moyo said local oil expressers like Pure Oil Industries and United Refineries Limited are directly capacitating local farmers through contract farming.
“There is need for a sound convergence between Government efforts and private sector participation in the soya bean production and value chains.
There is need for pricing collaboration to ensure equitable and transparency for all players of the value chain from the farmer to the end consumer with the aim of eliminating the need to import soya beans,” said Mr Moyo.