Over 100,000 soyabean farmers likely to be out of business

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Soyabeans
Soyabeans

More than 100,000 soyabean farmers in the country are likely to lose their source of livelihoods if the ban on export of the commodity is not reversed, the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has cautioned.

It raised the concerns that the decision by the government to place a ban on the export of certain commodities such as rice, maize and soyabeans, was having a negative impact on the survival of the farmers, especially soyabean farmers.

This is because the farmers of such commodities, particularly soyabeans, had not been able to sell their produce after harvest and those who did had low sales, thereby recording losses and unable to continue farming.

Dr Charles Kwowe Nyaaba, the Executive Director, PFAG, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga, said apart from the over 100,000 farmers who were directly engaged in the production of soyabeans, many actors in the soyabeans value chain were also at risk of losing their livelihoods if government did not reconsider its decision.
In 2022, the government restricted the export of certain commodities including rice, maize and soyabeans out of the country, as part of measures to ensure food security and increase local poultry and livestock production.

The directive restricted Ghana’s export of the communities to eight countries including Niger, Sierra Leone, the Republic of Congo, the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, and Canada.

The restriction was particularly to make soyabeans available for processing into poultry feed to help the poultry industry which was struggling to survive because of lack of feed, but the situation is throwing soyabeans farmers out of business, Dr Nyaaba said.

Many soyabean farmers especially those from Northern Ghana including Yendi, Chereponi, Tatale, Saboba, Nantom, Pusiga, Sissala East, Jirapa, Daffiama among others have not been able to sell their produce after harvesting due to lack of market.

Dr Nyaaba said the ban on the export of soyabeans was a counter-productive policy, which was affecting the incomes of farmers and discouraging them from further investment into the sector despite the huge economic potential.

He therefore called on the government to lift the restrictions to allow the sector to contribute significantly to restoring the economy and incomes of farmers.

“Our worry is that after the restrictions, the local buyers are not reaching out to the farmers to buy and the few who are able to buy, are rather buying and aggregating for export, so, today, if you go to most of the districts especially in northern sector, farmers who invested massively in soyabeans cannot sell,” he said.

The Executive Director said apart from low prices offered by the local processors, the local processors did not have the capacity to buy and “yet government prevented the people from exporting their produce to where they can get market.”

He said the ban was a violation of the agreement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which Ghana was a signatory to and headquartered and appealed for the repeal of the export and import restriction of soyabeans Regulations 2020 (L.I.2432).

“The impression is created as if government has supported those farmers to produce which is not true, we produce with our own resources because last year we did not even get fertilizer under the planting for food and jobs programme and we did not get any seeds to produce soyabeans, we produce with our own resources, so why will you prevent us from selling our produce and yet you are not buying from us” he said.

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