Banks part­ner URL in soya bean con­tract farm­ing

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

AT least four fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions have com­mit­ted to part­ner­ing United Re­finer­ies Lim­ited (URL) to fund its soya bean out­grow­ers’ project as it forges ahead to sat­isfy its de­mand for the edi­ble oil seed.

URL chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mr Bu­sisa Moyo said the per­sonal care and agro-com­modi­ties pro­ces­sor was invit­ing farm­ers with at least 10 hectares for con­tract farm­ing un­der its Soya Bean Out­grower Al­liance (SOBOA) ini­tia­tive.

“As URL, we are giv­ing an op­por­tu­nity to farm­ers with at least 10 hectares of land to part­ner us to grow soya beans un­der our SOBOA. We will as­sist with a let­ter of guar­an­teed up­take plus help farm­ers to ac­cess fi­nance from banks on a case by case ba­sis. CBZ, FBC, Agrib­ank and ZB Bank have so far come for­ward,” said Mr Moyo.

He said the ini­tia­tive guar­an­teed off taker for their pro­duce, ac­cess to train­ing ser­vices in soya bean grow­ing and in­puts.

“Soya beans im­prove soil qual­ity and are the best al­ter­na­tive for crop ro­ta­tion as it is a legume which is ni­tro­gen fix­ing. We are also ex­plor­ing a Block-chain tech­nol­ogy to as­sist in man­age­ment of our al­liance to im­prove yields, con­tact and up­date farm­ers,” said Mr Moyo.

He said prepa­ra­tions for this year’s crop­ping sea­son had al­ready be­gun.

“We are prepar­ing for the com­ing plant­ing sea­son and we are tar­get­ing a min­i­mum of 7 500 hectares, we are com­pil­ing the list of leg­i­ble farm­ers,” said Mr Moyo.

He said URL re­quires 80 000 tonnes of soya beans per year while the en­tire in­dus­tries need 240 000 tonnes against the coun­try’s pro­duc­tion of 60 000 tonnes.

“This ini­tia­tive will lead to im­port sub­sti­tu­tion, which will see a re­duc­tion in the im­port bill of circa $250 mil­lion per year for soya bean crude oil, soya meal and other value chain prod­ucts linked to low soya out­put,” said Mr Moyo.

Last year, im­ports of soya beans drained $172 mil­lion from the fis­cus, with farm­ers only man­ag­ing to pro­duce 30 000 tonnes.

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