Soya bean production is expected to increase following an injection of US$35 million by Government and the private sector. Presenting the 2013 budget, recently Finance Minister, Tendai Biti said production was going to increase from 70 500 tonnes last year to 115 000 tonnes this season.
This was attributed to the increasing demand of the crop and its by-products. Soya beans have multiple uses that include production of cooking oil, stock feed and other edible foods.
"As a result, a number of financing facilities for more than US$35 million are planned for the 2013 season," he said.
Minister Biti said these included an injection of US$5,6 million by Olivine Industries, US$25 million Agricultural Marketing Authority bills and US$5 million tripartite initiated facility involving the Grain
Marketing Board, Agribank, farmers and oil expressers.
The Infrastructural Development Bank has also expressed interest in sponsoring 10 000 hectares of soya beans on the Agricultural Rural Development Authority Estates.
A number of farmers have also switched from cotton to soya beans as a result of a poor marketing season.
Last season, many farmers made huge losses after cotton fetched a low price of US$0,30 per kilogramme instead of the expected US$1,50 per kilogramme.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union vice president, Mr Berean Mukwende said soya beans was an easy crop especially for farmers with red soils since the crop does not require top dressing.
"The crop is easy to market and farmers get instant cash unlike cotton and maize," he said.
Mr Mukwende said although soya beans seed was expensive on the market, farmers would be able to break even at a yield of 1,5 tonnes per hectare.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Mr Wonder Chabikwa said there was high demand for soya cake on the market especially from poultry producers.
Farmers said they get soya milk, mince and bread which is high in nutritional value.