Soyabean shortage to persist

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Soyabean shortage is set to persist in the foreseeable future as farmers continue to battle to secure funding to assist them boost production of the crop.

Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe president Charles Taffs said failure to provide collateral by most farmers was hampering their ability to access finances.

Taffs said the country would continue to face deficit unless key fundamentals that affect farmers ability to produce are addressed.

We are going to face excessive shortages, said Taffs. Farmers are unable to source funding to grow these crops as they dont have collateral.

Zimbabwe reported a 200 000-tonne deficit in soyabeans last season after producing 20 000 tonnes, far less that the national requirement of 220 000 tonnes.

AICO Africa subsidiary Olivine Industries managing director Jonas Mushangari said the company had so far put in $2,5 million towards soyabean production.
Olivine Industries consumes significant soyabean stocks for the production of cooking oil, soap and other household products.

We have so far managed to put 500 hectares under soya instead of 2 500. This was limited by available resources, said Mushangari.

He said the group was expecting to produce a total of 65 000 tonnes in 2012. Soyabean produce for this year will not meet the expected demand due to limited resources.

However, looking at where we were last year and where we are now, if figures come up as expected there will surely be some improvement, said Mushangari.

AICO last year said the group planned to spend $3 million on soyabean cropping during the 2011/2012 season to boost local production.

Local companies have in recent months been crying foul over the shortage of soyabeans, which has negatively impacted on local production.

As a result of the shortage, capacity utilisation at the companies that make use of the crop have remained depressed.