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Soya farmers smiling

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At K700 per kg, the commodity price is about 100% above farmgate prices

Soya farmers have a sweet tale this season as the price of the commodity continues to rise, lately selling at about 100 percent above the government farmgate price of K450 per kilogramme (kg).

Snap checks by have shown that prices for the commodity across the country are ranging from K700 per kg to K850 per kg.

One trader in Lilongwe, Chisomo Belewu, said the prices are being driven by market forces as vendors scramble for the commodity.

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“I am buying soya at K700 because that is the price my competitors are purchasing it at. I tried to sell below that but no one was coming here to sell to me; therefore, I had to adjust and prices are likely to continue rising,” he said.

Last year, the commodity closed the market with prices averaging K900 per kg, which farmers rated as a good price.

In an interview, Grain Traders and Processors Association Chairperson Grace Mijiga Mhango said the prices have started on a good note.

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She, however, said, in some districts, the prices were seen decreasing as supply increased.

She added that the commodity is ideal to supplement tobacco, Malawi’s main export crop.

“Soya is the right supplement because it has many uses and farmers can be assured that prices will continue improving because soya can be processed to an end product right here in the country and even abroad,” she said.

Government has been advocating crop diversification and an aggressive approach to the farming of crops that will complement tobacco in bringing foreign exchange.

Speaking when opening the Mzuzu tobacco auction floors on Monday, Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe touted soya as being easy to cultivate but fetching good prices as compared to other crops.

Agriculturalist Leonard Chimwaza said investing in Soya can be a good idea to complement tobacco because it continues fetching good prices and it is cheaper to cultivate than the main cash crop, tobacco.

He added that what goes into producing a kg of tobacco is more than what goes into producing a kg of tobacco but prices now are hovering around the same figures.

However, he is of the view that research should be done on what has caused the prices to shoot because without proper knowledge, the country may end up overproducing against reduced demand.

“We need to be clear on what is pushing the demand and reducing supply so that we capitalise on that; otherwise, we will end up having more supply than demand which will reduce prices and erode the hope that it can complement tobacco,” he said.

Output for the commodity is projected at 323,386 metric tonnes in the 2021-22 farming season.

During the preceding period of 2020-21 farming season, Malawi produced 264, 497 metric tonnes and realised over $50 million.

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