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ZNFU calls for regulated exports of soyabeans

• The Union is disappointed that soyabeans will not be part of the FRA strategic reserves this marketing season.
• This development should be re-visited.
• ZNFU proposes that government allows regulated exports of soyabeans immediately.

Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) has called on government to immediately allow regulated exports of soyabeans.
ZNFU President Jervis Zimba said this follows the decision by Food Reserve Agency (FRA) not to buy the crop as part of its strategic reserves during the 2023 marketing season.
Mr. Zimba said the Union is disappointed that FRA will not be buying soyabeans when farmers in far flung areas have embraced crop diversification and the season promises a record crop of the commodity.
He stated that the Union would want to see a situation where all the soyabeans value chain players are sustained in business and not short-changing the farmer.
“What good will it be to abandon soyabeans farmers at crop marketing, having oriented them to growing soyabeans as an alternative crop which is also good for the soils in crop rotation? This development should be re-visited.”
“The idea of assuming that there is enough crushing capacity for all the beans should be interrogated with historical facts of dynamics of this value chain because in practice this is not tenable,” Mr. Zimba stated.
Mr. Zimba said it is also important to bear in mind that the crop marketing window is relatively short and as such, government should make timely decisions on exports and send right policy signals to players in the market.
He further invited Government to a constructive consultative meeting on the soyabeans value chain so as to agree on pragmatic solutions.
“It is a fact South Africa has a huge soyabeans crop implying that the demand in the region for value added products will be subdued. This suggests we should also look at exports of the beans itself if the prices are to be salvaged. The fact that our soyabeans is non-GMO will give Zambia an edge in niche markets which traditionally pay premiums on non-GMO commodities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Zimba has hailed FRA for setting the maize price at K280 for a 50 kilogram bag as this will incentivize farmers to return to producing maize for national food security and exports.
He said the move signals the beginning of progression towards cost reflective pricing for maize in the country.
“Over the years, we have seen more and more farmers abandoning maize production for the simple reason that the price incentive was just non – existent as it became impossible to recover the investment put in maize. To Government, we say well done on this one. With right signals, the future looks positive for maize so long as cost reflective prices are sustained,” he stated.
On Wednesday, FRA Board Chairperson Kelvin Hambwezya disclosed that the Agency will only buy paddy rice as well as white maize and not soybeans because it has enough stock of the crop in reserves.
Mr. Hambwezya also revealed that the Agency will be buying a 50 kilogram bag of white maize at K280 and a 40 kg of bag paddy Rice at K200 during the 2023 marketing season.

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