Livingstone Marufu Business Reporter—
Government has set the price for soya beans to be financed under the Presidential Input Scheme during 2017 /18 season at $610 per tonne, 22 percent higher than the prevailing market price to encourage production of the oil seeds, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made announced yesterday.
The development comes at a time when the Government is stepping up efforts to grow soya beans, a critical raw material in the production of edible oil, to help meet about 300 000 tonnes of the seed required by the domestic market annually.
“The $610 per tonne of soya beans price will be our price for the 2017 /2018 season under the Presidential Input Scheme and we urge all farmers who benefit from the programme to deliver the crop to the Grain Marketing Board,” said Dr Made.
The Grain Marketing Board is paying $500 per tonne, according to the Agriculture and Marketing Authority while IECT, a local commodities broker is paying $400 per tonne.
However, local oil firms are importing the commodity at a much lower price of $370 per tonne.
“We have a great anticipation that the move will spur soya beans production from A1, communal farmers, old resettlement and small scale farmers,” Dr Made said. Zimbabwean farmers are producing an average of 30 000 tonnes of soya beans per year, according to Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe. Some local cooking oil producers have started contracting local growers to increase production and reduce imports.
Apart from the production of edible oil, soya beans can be used to make stock feeds.
Government has also extended soya beans into the Command Agriculture programme to increase output.
“We will grow soya bean crop under the Command Agriculture Scheme but we haven’t yet decided how much money the soya bean under this programme will be bought for as it all depends with the terms of the financiers. “We will soon announce the price as soon as we agree with them on the pricing cost of this vital crop,” he said.
Government is leading mobilisation of $150 million for the 2017 /2018 Command Soya Bean Scheme.