Group advises farmers to increase soybean production for export

The Federation of Agricultural Commodities Association Nigeria (FACAN) President, Dr. Victor Iyama, has advised farmers to take advantage of the trade war between the United States (U.S.) and China to double their soybean acreage for increase exports earnings.

This followed China imposition of  tariffs on U.S. soybeans, a development that has shaken  global trade flows.

China is the world’s largest consumer of soybeans and the destination for well over half of U.S. soybeans.

Beijing said it will impose an extra 25 per cent import duty on more than 500 U.S. goods, including soybeans from today. The move was in response to Washington’s plan to slam duties on $50 billion Chinese goods, as the trade dispute between the world’s top two economies escalates.

The tit-for-tat trade threats have already disrupted trade flows across the commodities sector from sorghum to coal and inflated prices of animal feed ingredients such as soymeal.

China is the world’s biggest pork producer and consumer and its industry relies on soybean meal, a product of soybean crushing, to feed its pigs. Rising costs for hog farmers risks increasing the price of pork, a component of China’s consumer price index.

Iyama said the rising cost of American soybeans  will  improve the competitiveness of Nigerian  supplies to China markets.

According to him, local producers can join other suppliers to replace the supply of soybeans from the U.S. going to China, urging  farmers to take advantage in markets where  U.S.  share of exports will drop.

Iyama urged food exporters to explore opportunities, appealing to the government to focus on sustainable development and is creating fantastic opportunities for agribusiness and food.

According to him, while agro commodities   are growing ,  so much  need to be done to increase volume  to enable agriculture make an impact on  trade.

Exporters, he added, ought to focus on value-added products and diversify export markets which typically fetches higher per-unit value than  unprocessed  produce .

He explained that the  government and the private sector needed to jointly work out ways for boosting the per-unit value of exports. That can come from a combination of high-end processing and value-addition in export products as well as from targeting richer segments of export markets.

Meanwhile, agro investors on the platform of Madaki Agro Services Limited have said they are targeting an investment of 100,000 hectares of Arable land in soya beans cultivation in the next five years.

Its Executive Director, Operations, Mike Enahoro stated  that the target is to have 100,000 hectares by the end of five years, noting that the target is just a drop in what Nigeria arable opportunities have. “Nigeria still has about 1.6 million hectares,” he said.

Enahoro said the group is targeting three tons, adding that if there is a natural disaster or herdsmen attacks, the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Commission Company (NAIC) will step in to remedy the situation.

He said: “The role of government is to create an enabling environment, support investors with investment programmes such as the Anchor Borrowers Programme, accelerate and support us with all necessary platforms.”

In his presentation on the investment opportunities earlier, the company’s Executive Director of Finance, Chijioke Ofomata, said: “The Madaki Agro Services Limited is working to unlock untapped value in the agriculture and agro allied processing sectors.”

He revealed that the company had acquired 10,000 hectares of farmland in Ganjuwa Local Government Area of Bauchi State for growing cash crops.

“These include soya beans, groundnuts, wheat, rice, sorghums, cowpeas with a model of planting and harvesting three  cycles in a year.

“The Madaki business model is based on being an anchor/aggregator of small holder farmers (Anchor Borrowers Programme) principally designed to empower communities and create wealth for rural farmers as well as activate company owned farming which will drive further, both productivity and profitability.”

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