Cheap edible oil imports are exacerbating the soya bean market crisis, says Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Jervis Zimba.
The price crashed from K220/50kg last season to as low as K70/50kg.
“The uptake of soya bean by local producers of edible oils has slumped as a result of the unfair competition brought about by cheap imports,” Zimba said.
He said the decline in soya prices will force thousands of small-scale farmers to down-scale or abandon the crop in the coming planting season.
Soya bean production has increased to 351 416 tons from last year’s 267 490.
Zimba said the market crisis for soya bean is symptomatic of problematic crop marketing policies.
“This is all part of the bigger problem of the prevailing poor market policies that extended to other crops, as well as the importation of competing produce,” he said.
The low prices sparked outrage among smallholder farmers who took to social media, mobilising producers to pool their crops for export instead of selling it cheaply on the local market.
Zimbabwe and Namibia are possible export destinations.
The group plan to take several steps to mitigate the situation. This includes creating bulking centres and negotiating with transporters. This will ensure that farmers are price givers rather than takers.
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