South Africa shipped its first bulk soybean export to China through the Durban port on 15 October. This is considered an important milestone in the country’s growing soybean industry.
The Minister of Agriculture, Thoko Didiza, signed an export protocol for soybeans to China just over a year ago. She believes that this successful shipment is proof of the possibilities to grow the grain and oilseeds sector through cooperation between the government and the private sector.
The transaction is also perfectly in line with the objectives of the agricultural and agro-processing master plan (Aamp) and the commitments made recently at the BRICS summit, Didiza said.
“China is the largest consumer and importer of soybeans in the world. It is expected that this country will import around 97 million tons of soybeans in the next year. This compared to South Africa’s export potential of barely one million tonnes.”
Didiza says the ability to access this market brings unlimited export potential and growth for both emerging and established farmers in South Africa.
“Beyond the Chinese market, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development works together with industry bodies such as the South African Grain and Oilseed Trade Association (Sacota) and Grain South Africa to also gain access to other markets, including Indonesia and Egypt, to obtain.
“The opening of new export markets helps generate foreign earnings for farmers which directly benefits the rural economy.
“Soybeans are an ideal crop for emerging farmers as they add 50% more value for the same number of hectares compared to maize.
“In partnership with private sectors, the state is already promoting soybeans and it has been introduced in development projects that support emerging farmers,” says Didiza.