Former ZNCC Chairman Joins URL’s Soybean Outsourcing Program
Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Journalist
FORMER Chairman of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), Mr. Luxon Zembe is one of the farmers who entered into a soybean outgrower scheme with Bulawayo-based United Refineries Limited, putting 50 hectares under soybeans at Mazowe.
The soybean farming project by Mt Pisgah Estate, trading as Luxon Zembe, was launched last year in Mazowe, Mashonaland Central province.
In a recent interview, Mr. Zembe, who leads the project with his wife, Charity, said Company chronicle they expected a minimum yield of three tons per ha.
“We are in a subcontract with United Refineries Limited (URL) where we have planted 50 hectares of soybeans.
“Our target is a minimum of three tonnes per hectare, we hope and are confident that we will be able to achieve and so far so good, it is looking good as the harvest is in the flowering and ripening stage. pod formation.
“We planted it on November 28 last year and it’s our first project with United Refineries and we found them to be very organized and responsive to the needs of the farmer,” he said.
According to official figures from the agronomist, the break-even point for soybeans is around 1.7 tonnes/ha.
In 2019, URL Managing Director Mr. Busisa Moyo announced that his organization and strategic partners were implementing a US$30 million soybean grower alliance program to increase production of the crop. in the country.
The initiative aims to increase the country’s cooking oil processing and feed livestock, as well as reduce Zimbabwe’s import bill.
As part of the agricultural recovery plan, the government last December announced pre-sowing producer prices for the 2021/2022 summer crop year for soybeans at $125,530.17 per tonne while corn was set at $58,553.25 per ton, traditional cereals ($70,263.90) and sunflower ($150,636.20).
As part of their partnership, Mr. Zembe said URL provided them with all the inputs on time and hence the project was a success in terms of implementation.
“When there are challenges, they are available, they organize experts to talk to farmers virtually or physically.
“They organize farm visits to various project farms to share ideas, knowledge and experiences and that is what makes the project successful.
“Additionally it is obviously raining because it is important for us to have enough rain and so far the weather has been good and we are looking forward to a good return.
We expect to harvest the crop in mid-April depending on weather conditions and how quickly they dry out, but we should be able to harvest the crop in mid-April,” he said.
Mr Zembe said they were growing the crops on leased farms in the Pearson and Jumbo areas of Mazowe and called on the government to be allocated state A2 land for farming due to its high level of production and faithful payment of loans.
“I also paid for five 80 and 90 horsepower tractors, four-row seed drills, three-disc reversible ploughs, two 24-disc harrows, a spray boom and good sprinkler irrigation equipment.
“Now we need a central pivot to increase my production to 200 ha for summer and winter crops. Key success factors are vision, passion, good equipment, good and timely input support program, good soils, good rainfall patterns, good crop management and well-groomed labor “, did he declare.
A renowned businessman in his own right, Zembe said soybean is a strategic crop whose production should be boosted to reduce the country’s import bill, create jobs and support the manufacturing sector.
He said soybeans provide one of the most edible oils, adding that soybean chunks have also become an appealing food for many people.
“Soybean is even important for providing animal feed, so it is a strategic food crop not only in Zimbabwe but globally and it is important that we put resources into its production otherwise we will spend a lot of money. money to import by-products that we get from the added value of soybeans.
“Soy also supports our manufacturing industry because you know that 60% of the inputs for our manufacturing industry come from agriculture and this is one of the good examples that supports the cooking oil manufacturing industry and other by-products like animal feed,” Zembe said. — @KazungaOliver