Soybean shortage hits Zimbabwean food processing industry

bean; soya; FEWSNET

Local media reports that a serious shortage of soybean in Zimbabwe has led to a drop in production in the food processing industry.

According to reports, the shortage led to an increase in the price of cooking oil, stock feed and other products.

Zimbabwe’s Sunday Mail reports that the development forced the Zimbabwean government to permit the import of finished products and ingredients essential for the production of edible oil and other products.

Among the producers hardest hit is Olivine, the country’s largest producer of cooking oil, margarine and other soybean-based products. Also affected are producers of stock feed. The companies are set to benefit from the special dispensation government put in place to allow them to import raw soybean and ingredients essential for production.

However, this too could have its challenges because of the acute shortage of foreign currency the country is facing.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union (ZCFU) president Wonder Chabikwa told Sunday Mail that farmers in the 2016/’17 agricultural season dumped soybean production and embraced maize cropping under the US$500 million command agriculture scheme.

“Soybean has not been grown that much this season as many farmers joined the command agriculture scheme. Most farmers dumped it because there were no financiers,” Chabikwa said.

Last year, Zimbabwe was hit by a cooking oil shortage and spent US$120 million to import crude soybean oil. That figure is likely to go up this year.

This galvanised industry players to lobby government to help soybean producers under the command scheme.

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