FARMERS in Manicaland have appealed to Government to assist them with inputs to boost soya bean production in the province.
Agritex crops and livestock production officer Mr Paul Sakuhuni said so far less than 1 000 hectares had been put under soyabeans in Manicaland.
He said the uptake was low as farmers were apprehensive about the high cost and shortage of inputs, while most did not have access to combine harvesters.
“Soyabean farmers are experiencing difficulties in accessing inputs such as seed, fertilisers, chemicals and combine harvesters,” said Mr Sakuhuni. “The farmers have potential to produce more than 30 000 tonnes of soyabean this year if Government assists them with inputs and adequate resources.”
Soyabean production has been added to crops covered under the Command Agriculture and Presidential Inputs Schemes.
Mr Sakuhuni said the inputs that were distributed to farmers were not enough to cover all farmers interested in producing the crop.
“The soyabean inputs that we distributed to farmers which were under the Presidential Inputs Scheme were not enough as some farmers needed more soyabean seed to plant this season,” he said.
Mr Sakuhuni encouraged farmers to grow the crop because of its impact on food security, sustainable agricultural production, job creation and indigenisation and empowerment agenda.
He said it would also help livestock feed processing, especially for pig, poultry and dairy industries, which depend on the crop.
“Boosting soyabean production is very important as the crop contributes protein, a major component in stockfeed manufacturing and it also boosts soil fertility,” said Mr Sakuhuni.
“Everything from soya is useful. Some of the products include oil, mince, milk, bread, sausages and these can be produced at home without using sophisticated machinery.”