The Union and other stakeholders are on record favouring export of surplus production as per statement issued earlier where 100,000MT was established to be surplus and unanimously agreed to be available for export. Anything else besides this position is contradictory to Government policy and the signals which farmers have been receiving from the policy makers, including the highest office. Why should anyone advocate to Government that they vary and micromanage the exportable surplus of soyabeans?

Policy consistency and certainty is good for the entire soyabeans value chain and above all will instil confidence for further investments in soyabeans production. The Republican President, Mr Hakainde Hichilema has been at the helm of marketing Zambia to become a credible source of agricultural products to supply our neighbours plus the rest of Africa and remain a dependable source of agricultural products for own consumption.

Unfortunately, contradictory statements attributed to CEDORA are now hinting that they can buy everything. Well, CEDORA should be buying what they need but not at the expense of deterring other buyers by pretending that they can buy everything or reducing exports volumes agreed by the stakeholders. Such selfish motives should not be entertained as this has potential to erode confidence in the soyabeans industry.

ZNFU is dismayed by such disingenuous sentiments. In fact, Dr Aubrey Chibumba, who issued the statement saying exporting will lead to artificial shortages, attended the stakeholders meeting and at no time during the meeting did he advocate to other stakeholders that domestic consumption is sitting at 421,000MT nor the fact that exporting will cause shortages. We challenge him to substantiate his new position and the allegation that ZNFU rejected offers from CEDORA to buy 100,00MT of soyabeans.

Farmers deal with buyers of soyabeans, whether CEDORA members or not. So this allegation is misleading and outright false. Instead, CEDORA’s complaint during the stakeholders meeting was directed at stockfeed processors as he alleged that CEDORA were not receiving placement orders for soya cake requirements from the stockfeed processors, hence they advocated for free fall exporting from August onwards for both soyabeans and soya cake. To now turn around and allege that there will be an artificial shortage by exporting is strange as this does not tally with the existing trading environment because the stakeholders favour regulated exports. No one wants to deny local processors desired raw materials but we are against oversupply as this is to the detriment of farmers.

We urge Government to be alive to the existence of cartels in the agricultural market space doing a disservice to farmers all in the name of value addition. There is need for a level playing field in crop marketing to enhance competition. Exporting of what is required in the export markets whether soya cake, soyabeans or stock feed should be encouraged and not curtailed as this will spur production

Source: Zambia National Farmers’ Union