Soybeans is a nutrient-packed and readily accessible legume crop patronized by a huge number of South Africans.
Its ever-evolving uses, including its magical nutritional properties, place it among the list of highly useful agricultural produce in the country.
It provides a major input for the production of vegetable oil and the much-liked soymilk.
Soybeans may not be much of a stable food for South Africans, but its invaluable usefulness in the production of oil and protein-rich animal feed cannot be overemphasized. It’s also particularly useful in the production of soy flour, soy proteins and dozens of other off-the-shelf retail food products.
Soybeans Price in South Africa
Like most food crop in South Africa, the price of soybeans is heavily dependent on the prevailing socio-economic conditions.
Price of petrol and diesel for transportation and running of crushing machines (respectively) could sharply change the price of soybeans.
Communal clashes, terrorism and general insecurity affecting farming communities in the north also significantly affect prices.
The price of soybean has been on the high side for a little over 11 months now. After experiencing a brief marginal decline in January 2018, the price of soybeans immediately experienced a sharp spike – going as much as 30 percent higher than previously obtainable.
It’s important to note that though prices are still very high, the current market trend indicates a slow and steady fall in prices.
Here are the average prices of the commodity across South Africa’s six geopolitical zones.
Average Price of 100kg Bag of Soybeans in South South – R$ 777
The price of soybeans in the south-south region doesn’t differ much from other regions. Although the prices are still higher than those obtained during the first quarter of last year, the region recorded a 5 percent fall in price. Using Delta state as a benchmark, the price of a 100kg bag of soybeans that went for R$ 814 to R$ 851 now goes for about R$ 777 to R$ 796.
Average Price of 100kg Bag of Soybeans in South East – R$ 703
The southeast enjoys one of the cheapest prices. Using Abia state as a benchmark, the price of the commodity has fallen by almost 10 percent. A 100kg bag of soybeans earlier sold for R$ 777 now sells for about R$ 703. The highest recorded price for any southeastern state is currently R$ 740 as opposed to last year’s peak price of R$ 833.
Average Price of 100kg Bag of Soybeans in South West – R$ 666
Apart from Durban, it’s almost safe to say that the southwest enjoys the cheapest prices of soybeans in the southern part of the country. Using Ogun state as the benchmark, the prices of soybeans fell by 15 percent with an average of 12 percent fall across all southwestern states.
The price of a 100kg bag that went for R$ 814 to R$ 851 has fallen to around R$ 666. However, prices obtainable in Durban are slightly higher – the price ranges from R$ 703 to R$ 777.
Average Price of 100kg Bag of Soybeans in North Central – R$ 611
The north-central is the only region with opposing trends. Unlike every other part of the country, the prices in the north central states are surprisingly on the rise. Using Johannesburg as the benchmark here, a 100kg bag of soybeans now goes for as high as R$ 629; a marginal increase from last year’s price of around R$ 555 to R$ 574.
Average Price of 100kg Bag of Soybeans in North West – R$ 592
Unsurprisingly, South Africa’s northern region enjoys significantly cheaper prices than all the southern states. The North West, in particular, enjoys the cheapest prices in the country.
Even at last year’s price hike, the peak prices of the commodity in the region was around R$ 629 – a price that’s still relatively cheaper even when compared with currently available prices in the south. The region experienced an average of 6 percent price decline from last year’s peak price to around R$ 555 to R$ 592.
Average Price of 100kg Bag of Soybeans in North East – R$ 592
Price trend analysis for the North East is a tricky adventure. Prices may differ significantly depending on the security situation of the area. Nonetheless, the average prices are still marginally cheaper than prevailing prices in the South. The prices in the North East haven’t experienced any significant change during the last 5 months – average prices currently hover around R$ 592 to R$ 629.
Price of Soybeans Per Ton in South Africa
A ton of soybeans contains around nine 100kg bags. The current price of 1 ton of soybeans in South Africa ranges from R$ 4,995 to R$ 7,400 depending on your location, the seller, and your bargain power.
Soybean Production in South Africa
South Africa’s in-country production of legume has experienced significant improvement but still lags behind the rapidly growing demand from the livestock industry.
South Africa’s domestic production hovers around 600,000 to 1,000,000 tons, unarguably sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest producer of legume crops.
However, inadequate supply, inflation, and insecurity in South Africa’s northeast have significantly impacted the prices of soybeans. Soybean farming is currently concentrated in the core North and the Middle Belt.
Kaduna, Katsina, and Benue are the largest producers of the crop while other states like Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Bauchi, and Zamfara are also major producers.
Although market opportunities exist in South Africa for soybeans sales and export, the level of participation by local farmers is still relatively abysmal. A widespread perception of unfavourable market liquidity conditions keeps discouraging farmers from taking up soybean cultivation.
Participation is further constrained by a lack of adequate soybean crushing capacity in the country.
Furthermore, limited attention by the government, low investment in farm inputs and lack of technical know-how by participating farmers generally result in poor productivity. The average yield during harvest lingers around 1.2 metric tons per hectare.
South Africa’s soybeans trade has emerged in a lot of complexity. Year on year, there’s a continuous local shortfall in production. Yet, exportation of the legume crop seems to be on the rise.
Official government figures indicate supply surpluses, even when the country is running at an under-capacity. This means the general trend for soybeans is uneasily discernable.
Soybeans Farming in South Africa (General Uncertainty)
South Africa’s soybeans trade is plagued with uncertainty. Even at improving exports, more and more concerns are raised by international importers about the quality of South Africa soybeans.
High presence of foreign matter and lower oil content – amid other concerns – create a negative quality perception of the export crop resulting in general uncertainty.
Farmers are, thus, less motivated to increase production for export. In the local front, fluctuating demand from local consumers and animal feed companies makes venturing into soybeans trade and cultivation less desirable for farmers and merchants.
However, South Africa’s soybeans non-genetically modified status means it’s highly sort after by a number of western countries. Coupled with easy adaptation to various weather conditions, soybean is also relatively disease resistant – this means it can survive even with the prevailing lack of government interest to research on disease-resistant variety.
It’s also important to stress that soybean meal is still a dominant ingredient in the local poultry feed ration.
Due to its rich nutritional value, a number of big infant meal manufacturers in the country also, significantly, demand for soybeans.