The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has authorised five Ghanaian soyabean-producing companies to export a recommended quantity of the commodity worth US$13.7million due to increasing demands from external markets.
Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who spoke exclusively to the B&FT, confirmed that the decision to grant export permit to the five companies was due to the excess availability of the product in Ghana.
“The five companies made a request to export 26,850 metric tonnes of soya bean worth US$13.7million, but MoFA has a threshold for such requests, though, there is excess to supply. The cap on exports is to meet the country’s domestic feed requirements for the fish and poultry industries,” he said.
The five companies, according to MoFA, are expected to export the approved commodity to meet high demands in India, China, Italy, Turkey and Canada.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto, explaining the prospects of the country’s ability to supply and meet existing demands for the commodity, attributed the surplus production to the success of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), which he said, has positively impacted all production sub-sectors in the production value chain.
“The figures being churned out as opposed to the reality of the PFJ are not true. The ministry works with its own primary data and we have production excess for many of the leguminous crops,” he said.
Soyabean annual production potential in Ghana is estimated at 700,000 metric tonnes, covering 250,000 hectares (ha).
Smallholder farmers with an average farm size of 1.4 ha are the main producers of the legume, with an estimated 200,000 of them, involved in production with an average of 0.5 ha of production per farmer each year.
There are, however, few large producers of soyabean who through the nucleus farm system engage many smallholder producers as out-growers, and provide some level of support such as land preparation and seed supply.
Data from MoFA indicates that production of soya has increased progressively in the past decades from 74,800 tonnes in 2008 to 176,670 tonnes in 2018, while area under cultivation has increased from 61,800 ha to 102,980 ha during the same period (MoFA, 2019).
The data said Ghana’s soyabean sector is rapidly growing because of development of the poultry and freshwater fishery industries as well as exportation of soyabean to countries such as Turkey and China.