Soya hits K450/kg on rising export demand
The country’s soya farmers are making a killing out of the crop with a kilogramme fetching as high as K450 in some areas thanks to mounting export demand for the commodity in countries such as India.
The development comes at a time government has set K320 per kg as the farmgate price for soya.
A visit to some districts in the Central Region revealed that intermediaries crisscrossing the terrain competing for the crop.
The highest price was recorded in Mchinji where traders were offering the commodity as high as K450 per kg.
Agriculture Commodity Exchange (Ace) Chief Executive Officer, Kristian Schach Møller, said the major driving force behind the appetising prices is the shortage of the commodity on the world market, especially in India.
Møller pegged the demand at around 30,000 metric tonnes.
“The situation is really good for soya farmers. The window only likely to be open for two to three months then I would expect prices to come down to normal levels decided by trade in the region,” Møller said.
He said the lucrative prices could motivate farmers to grow the crop even more next season.
Ministry of Agriculture Spokesperson, Grecian Lungu, said Capital Hill is impressed that intermediaries are respecting the minimum prices set by government.
Lungu said the level of competition among buyers is resulting in the growers realising better prices for their crop.
“Government would like to see the farmer being rewarded handsomely for their toil and we are impressed that the development is with soya growers this year.
“We will keep monitoring the market to ensure that vendors do not rip-off growers,” Lungu said.
Farmers Union of Malawi (Fum) Chief Executive Officer, Jacob Nyirongo, said it was encouraging to note that soya growers are getting a better reward for their crop.
Nyirongo said offering better prices is the best way to motivate farmers to grow more in the next growing season.
The mounting demand on soya comes at a time Malawi’s top foreign exchange earner, tobacco continues to struggle with weak prices.
President Lazarus Chakwera last week urged Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe to begin consultations with all stakeholders and come up with the timeframe within which Malawi’s economy will be completely weaned off tobacco and a strategy for preparing our farmers for a more prosperous future built on other commercial crops that are more profitable and sustainable.