Katsina — Early hoarding activities may affect the market supply and price of soybeans this year as harvest begins in earnest in Katsina State.
Over the years, soybeans has enjoyed industrial demands for the extraction of edible oil, milk, poultry and other animal feeds; but the cultivation of the crop has significantly reduced this year as farmers in the state concentrated in massive cultivation of maize and rice.
Malam Umar Aliyu, a large scale soybeans farmer in Malumfashi, told Daily Trust that the market supply of the produce would be low this year which might result to the push in its price higher than that of last year.
"Mass cultivation of rice and maize has this year affected the volume of soybeans production in this state; and its demand increases yearly due to increase in the number of poultry farms, edible oil refineries and animal feed firms across the country.
"These are enough reasons to expect a push in the price of the produce compared to last year," said Umar Aliyu.
He added that entrepreneurs have started hoarding the produce so that they supply companies at higher prices later.
"Before, companies through their agents bought soybeans and other grains directly from farmers in open markets, a situation that was of immense benefit to the farmers who sold their produce at a high prices.
"This year, entrepreneurs are buying it from farmers at a low price of N12,000 for onward selling to companies in a few weeks' time. This development would starve our markets of the produce and farmers would be prevented from getting optimal returns from their investment," Aliyu said.
He further stated that some years ago, hoarding of soybeans only started after companies have finished purchasing the produce in the November/December.
Efforts to speak with some of the entrepreneurs by this reporter proved abortive as they declined to comment on the alleged hoarding of the produce while some claimed that they were agents of some companies.
A farmer in Dayi, Sani Nalado, said besides hoarding, farmers were also threatened by theft on their farms.
"Even with the tedious process of harvesting soybeans, farmers this year stand a risk of produce theft at farms considering its low supply and high market price. That is why we are now more vigilant," said Nalado.
He added that the prospects of soybeans this year was much higher than that of the last two years especially as its price started on a good note of N12,000.
A check in Kafur and Dayi markets by Daily Trust revealed that unlike last year when the price of the produce started from N10,500, this year it ranges from N12,000 - N13,000 depending on its maturity, quality and variety.
But not many of the farmers appear to be in a hurry to sell everything; instead some are storing it at home to study the market behaviour regarding the produce.