Business

More Investments In Soya Beans Farming Is What Zimbabwe Needs

Zimbabwe has been facing shortages in basic commodities like cooking oil. Pure Oil Industries is currently supplying an average of 350 tonnes of refined cooking oil on a daily basis. The company has been supporting soya beans contract farmers for the past three years.

Soya bean oil is a vegetable oil that is extracted from soya beans, which are scientifically known as Glycine max. It is one of the most widely used vegetable oil in the world. Soybean is native to East Asia and is considered a legume. It is highly prized because it is edible.

Soya bean oil is considered healthier than most other vegetable oils, due to the presence of a good variety of essential fatty acids in it, which the body needs in order to remain healthy.

PURE Oil Industries is one of Zimbabwe’s major cooking oil producers. It has analysed the high demand of cooking oil and the shortage levels. The company has invested $9 million towards supporting contract farmers to produce soya bean. This produce is required for the manufacture of edible oils.

It expects other producers to follow suit as this project may just be what the country needs. Other producers include Surface Wilmar, Willowton, Olivine Industries and United Refineries Limited. The company has contracted farmers over the last three years to produce soya bean.

This comes at the time when the country is facing a crisis in the availability of foreign currency required to import major ingredients for the production of edible oils, crude oil. The country is not producing enough soya beans to meet the industrial demands.

The annual national requirement for soya bean stands at about $350 000t. Pure Oil industries provide direct support for farmers as they give all the inputs from seed, chemicals, fertilizers plus agronomy services.

Zimbabwe was once the leading producer of soya bean with national yields averaging over 100 000t per annum. After the land reform the yields slumped with 20 000t being harvested in 2010.

The country loses $200 million through soya bean imports per year. At least $5 million is required weekly to import soya bean, crude edible oils and related raw materials.

The investment budget is set at $1 000 per hectare and this has been done for three years that works to $3 million. However now $9 million has been put in. The motive behind the support is that it is cheaper to investing in the value chain as this does not require foreign currency.

The logic is each time Zimbabwe imports soya beans the country is supporting farmers from other country. Which is a more expensive option given the foreign currency shortages. This has seen cooking oil being sold at steep prices, while other retailers are demanding USD payments.

Mr Rodreck Musiyiwa Pure Oil industries head of operations  said they would want the bank to have appetite to take the risk from the farmer. These farmers do not have collateral or security. He went on to say they are happy that our banks are beginning to see that and come in on the back of us the off-taker and support the farmer.

The commodity  has become so precious giving too much control to retailers. They are making demands that customers should first purchase groceries worth $10 to be able to buy one  2-litre bottle of oil.

The goal is to be able reach a situation where the country gets to point where there is enough produce to meet the requirements for the soya mill customers.

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