New partnership deal to boost sunflower, soya beans farming

NEWTIMES.CO.RW: An edible seed processing factory in Kayonza, Soycom is set to sign a memorandum of understanding with local farmers to promote the growing of sunflower, soy beans and groundnuts. This, according to government, would be a great opportunity for the farmers as such a relationship would generate more income for them.

The development was announced yesterday during a meeting that brought together farmers cooperatives, officials from the company and the Ministries of Agriculture, and Trade and Industry in Rwamagana. According to Mt. Soycom chief executive Nick Barige, some cooperatives have reserved hectares of farm land for the crop. He said the processing firm would pay local farmers competitive prices for the input to address challenges of inadequate raw materials as about 95 per cent was imported from Uganda, DR Congo and Tanzania:

Soycom has had several meetings with the stakeholders trying to agree on the way forward. We need at least 25,000 tonnes per year to make 40 per cent production. If we got 50,000 tonnes per year, we would increase production to 80 per cent, which is our target. We have capacity to buy all the produce.

The firm plans to offer good prices to local farmers, who will supply them with raw material. For instance, it will offer Rwf450 per kilogramme as opposed to Rwf400 per kilogramme they give for imported soy beans, Barige said.

François Kanimba, the minister for trade and industry, asked Soycom officials to be considerate to the needs of of soya growers alongside their own benefit. He said the deal would be fair to farmers as a market was already available and offered a competitive price:

We are helping the two parties to strike a deal, so it must be win-win situation. Farmers must grow more soya beans to feed the factory, but the factory must also think about how residents can benefit from it.

The Soycom plant, which started processing in July, is expected to cut on the countrys importation of edible oil.

Elia Nsanzumuhire, a leader of a youth cooperative for soya beans in Kayonza District, said they would give it a chance, especially because of the ready market and increased prices:

All we need to do is to assess the interest on loans we shall get after firm negotiates with banks on our behalf. Otherwise, the price is good and the assurance of market is added advantage we cant afford to miss.

Odette Uwamariya, the governor of Eastern Province, said with the major demand for soya beans, farmers in the province should play their part to satisfy the demand.

Read the original article by Stephen Rwembeho on The New Times.

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