Figures from the Ministry of Trade have shown that the country has exported about 119,621,000 kilogrammes (kg) of Soya beans between January 1 and June 16 2021, valued at around K51.62 billion.
This is coming at a time prices of the commodity have enjoyed a steady increase in recent months, reaching K510 per kg, which is higher than the government-set minimum price of K320 per kg.
This represents a 59 percent increase in the prices during the period.
In an interview, Grain Traders Association of Malawi President Grace Mijiga-Mhango said clients with huge volumes are able to bargain and sell the commodity at a higher price.
“There is a price band of between K510 and K550 per kg depending on volumes. If one has a big tonnage, say 30 tonnes and above, you can get it at K550 per kg,” Mijiga-Mhango said.
Agriculture commodity market analyst Leonard Chimwaza attributed the price trend to reduced production of the crop this year against rising demand.
“Due to the subsidised soya seeds, many smallholder farmers had access to certified seeds, hence leading to improved productivity and also an increase in production last year. On the contrary, this year, most farmers ended up recycling soya from last year’s harvest hence affecting the productivity of the crop.
“This year there has been also growth in demand for soya as most off takers were scrambling for the little quantities of Soya available on the market. This also necessitated an increase in the price of Soya on the market as the supply was on the lower side hence leading to an increase in demand,” Chimwaza said.
Ministry of Trade spokesperson Mayeso Msokera said the ministry is impressed with the performance of the commodity on the export market as prices rise to record levels.
“It is a value chain that has also been prioritised in the National Export Strategy II due to its viability to substitute traditional exports such as tobacco. With the gazetting of Export Mandate Regulations, we expect the country to realise and safeguard the much needed foreign exchange export proceeds,” Msokera said.
This means that soya farmers are poised to make huge profits from their labour this year.
It is coming at a time stakeholders in the agriculture industry have emphasised the need to diversify the sector and enhance production of other high value crops apart from the traditional tobacco, tea, cotton and coffee.