Industry leaders have called for sustained efforts to continue increasing soyabean production locally in order to reduce the country’s current account deficit.

Revelations by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) that soyabean deliveries have topped 39 000 metric tonnes so far have been widely accepted by industry leaders as a positive sign towards becoming fully self-sustainable in oil seed production.

The country produced 25 000 metric tonnes of soyabeans during last year’s season against an annual requirement of 250 000 metric tonnes with the demand gap being filled by imports.

Economic analyst Dr Gift Mugano said despite the figure still not matching the demand, it is a step in the right direction for the economy to reduce the current account deficit.

“It is plausible that we are seeing an increase in soyabean deliveries to the GMB, government is determined to reduce the persistent current account deficit and edible oil imports are an unnecessary allocation of forex which should be quickly and easily substituted,” he said.

The country allocates almost US$300 million to edible oil imports annually.

The Oil Expressors Association of Zimbabwe is embarking on outgrowers schemes with farmers to increase soyabean production and together with the command agriculture in place, the set production targets are hoped to be achieved in the nearest future.