Soya beans was top on the list of exports in the fourth quarter of the 2020/21 financial year, raking in about K53.738 billion and contributing 27 percent to national exports.
According to figures from the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) the commodity was seconded by burley tobacco which fetched K48.135 billion.
Groundnuts came third as they contributed K22.962 billion while black tea brought in K17.033 billion and sugar fetched K10.236 billion.
In an interview Monday, Grain Traders Association of Malawi Chairperson Grace Mijiga-Mhango said the trend positions the commodity as one of strategic crops for Malawi and a possible key export earner.
“We have data which confirm that demand for soya will forever grow because, in Malawi and across the globe, usage of soya into different products in growing every day,” she said.
National Planning Commission (NPC), the entity entrusted to oversee long-term economic development agenda, has since recommended creation of structured markets for the commodity to improve revenue.
NPC Communications Specialist Thom Khanje said also recommended value addition if the commodity were to rake in more.
“We are still importing some things such as cooking oil, which means that there is huge demand for soya products both locally and internationally. Therefore, we can have more revenue if we started exporting products made from the commodity not the raw commodity,” he said.
In a separate interview, Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe said the government is devising measures towards adding value to such commodities and encouraging manufacturers to reduce crude oil imports.
“It means there should be more linkages between Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Trade and what we can do is to put a levy on raw exports and encourage local manufacturers to crash more soya into products such as the soya cake for animal feed, which is also on high demand,” he said.
The country is on a drive to diversify its exports base to complement tobacco.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.