HARARE, Dec 9 (NNN-NEW ZIANA) — The late onset of the rains has delayed planting of soya beans in Zimbabwe, a situation which may result in reduced yields, says the Chairman of the National Soyabeans Promotion Taskforce, Sheunesu Mpepereki.
Ideally, soybeans in Zimbabwe should be planted from Nov 15 to Dec 15 after the first rains. The crop, which now contributes 50 per cent of cooking oil production in the country, can also be used in a variety of ways including as a substitute for meat since it is high nutritious, as fertilizer or as animal feeds.
Mpepereki New Ziana here Monday that soybean farmers had not planted the crop. “No soaking rains have been received so far for soybeans seeds to germinate and we are not sure when rains are expected as they have become unpredictable and this will negatively impact on production output,” he said.
Mupepereki said late rains would result in a short planting season. “The production output is going down this year by just looking at the way the rains have delayed and this will not give farmers enough time to grow the crop,” he said.
Local production had declined to as little as 37,000 tons in 2010 from a peak of 170,000 tons in 2001 against a national requirement of 200,000 tons for stock-feed and cooking oil production. Last year, the country produced 150,000 tons against the national target of 250,000 tonnes.
Zimbabwe has a soybeans crushing capacity of 450,000 tons but the industry is currently operating below 10 per cent capacity utilization.
This year soybean farmers received a major boost form the Presidential Well-wishers Agricultural Input Scheme with farmers getting 25 kilogrammes of seeds and 20 kg of fertilizer in a move aimed at increasing food security levels in the country.
SOURCE: NEW ZIANA