Figures from the Ministry of Trade have shown that the country has realised about K83 billion after exporting 157,750,680 kilogrammes (kg) of Soybeans by July 31 2021.
Most of the Soya has been exported to markets in Tanzania, India and the United Arab Emirates.
In an interview, Ministry of Trade spokesperson Mayeso Msokera said Soybeans had performed well this year and offered strong potential for export diversification in view of the expected sustained demand from both regional and international markets.
“Significant growth potential now exists in new markets with high demand in countries such as China, India and the United Arab Emirates that are now opening up to Africa, as they seek to reduce over reliance on the World’s Major Soybean producers such as the USA and Brazil.
“It is the Ministry’s considered view, therefore, that, as we promote export of high value-added products, we also need to continue strengthening the primary sectors that are performing well such us the Soybean value chain,” Msokera said.
In a separate interview agriculture expert Felix Lombe said the figures show that, by doubling productivity and exports, the crop could smartly overtake tobacco.
“The reality is that we are actually exporting more of soybeans than what is reported because of smuggling. In principle, it is possible to triple the exports. The formula remains uncomplicated; good agriculture practices, support to medium scale farmers and irrigation,” Lombe said.
Grain market analyst Leonard Chimwaza said there was a need to mobilise farmers to produce and aggregate in groups for them to access certified seed and agriculture extension services with ease, hence enhancing production and aggregation.
“Contract farming is a good practice to have production oriented towards markets. Buyers must align themselves to producers so that they agree on quality standards, quantities and timelines,” Chimwaza said.
He said the government— through the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre, the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Department of Agricultural Research Services—must be vigilant in equipping potential exporters, transporters and inspectors with relevant knowledge and information on trade.
The commodity topped 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.
It was seconded by burley tobacco which fetched K48.135 billion during the period under review.
Groundnuts came third— contributing K22.962 billion, while black tea brought in K17.033 billion and sugar fetched K10.236 billion.
The country is on a drive to diversify its exports base to complement tobacco.