Prince Sunduzani Bulawayo Bureau
ZIMBABWE is losing $200 million through soya beans imports every year and depriving the country of the much-needed foreign currency. In an interview on Tuesday, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development (Cropping) Davis Marapira said Government will give 10kg of soyabean seed to each farmer under the Presidential Inputs Scheme so that the country does not lose money on imports. He said Government wants to stop importing soyabeans, hence the support for farmers.
“We no longer want to import soyabeans. We want to produce and export soyabeans and generate our own foreign currency. We are losing over $200 million per year on soyabeans alone, as we import over $200 million worth of soyabeans, which is very bad,” said Deputy Minister Marapira.
He said the money which is going towards soyabean imports could be used to buy agriculture machinery that can help improve the performance of the agricultural sector.
“If the $200 million is used to buy tractors and inputs, which will be given to our farmers that will help our agricultural turnover and probably grow our economy by an extra 10 percent,” he said.
The importation of the raw material increases production costs for cooking oil and other basic consumer goods. In August, Oil Expressers’ Association of Zimbabwe (OEAZ) president Mr Busisa Moyo said there was need to boost soyabeans production to reduce production costs. Zimbabwean farmers produce an average of 30 000 tonnes of soyabeans per year, against demand of about 300 000 tonnes. Some local cooking oil producers have started contracting local growers to increase soyabeans production to reduce reliance on imports.