Soya in modest earning of $USD70million, Cotton exports fetch US$48million
SOYA beans and Soya oil cake exports recorded modest export earnings of about ZMW693million (about US$70million) from January to December 2017.
Soybean has several uses, due to its composition it can be used for both human consumption and animal feed, in industrial products or feedstock for agro industry. Oil, flour and soybean meal are products originated from grain processing.
Soya oil has high nutritional value, and is used in many products for human nutrition. In addition, it is also an important feedstock for industrial purposes, such as paints, plastics or biofuels. Cotton on the other hand was the 5th largest export earner completing the list of Zambia top 5 Agro crop exports for 2017.
Soya exports at this modest production and export value levels made the crop rank 4th most important.
Soya beans and soya oil cake exports however recorded strong earnings, and was second among agro exports recording values for November 2017, to the tune of K155million (about USD15.5million), up from Octobers K59million (about USD5.9million) representing a 260% increase month on month.
Soya has rebounded with an increase in production to 351,000mt for the 2016/2017 harvest season. Notable players are Cargill and Mount Meru.
The crop has emerged as a versatile and important crop for production of cooking oil and a supplement to animal feeds. The local market for soya also continues to grow especially in the animal and chicken feed sector, with the local poultry production being one of its aggressive growth areas.
On the other hand, cotton production retains great potential and has not received large scale investments to support the implementation of the local value chain. The cloth crop requires the establishment of large cotton growing anchor farms that have links into the global cotton value chain.
This model is what has aided the thriving of other top (4) crops. The other challenge with cotton remains the lack of a ready market locally. The defunct cotton mills at Mulungushi in Kabwe and Zambezi in Livingstone have not seen the takeover of the erstwhile facilities by globally linked Cotton Agro companies, making the local cultivation subject to the whims of the fluctuating global cotton prices.
Even the announced re-opening of the Mulungushi textiles in 2016 has not come to fruition as there is need for a coordinated approach and policy guidelines to re-start credible local production and value chain support.