- On May 17, 2017
The demand in South Africa for soya beans is currently sitting at 1,99 million tons. The demand is estimated to grow to 2,3 million tons by 2020. This demand for soya bean meal is driven largely by the animal feed industry, in particular, the poultry industry. With only 7% of the soya bean demand being used for human consumption.
Local soya-processing facilities are still few and far between in South Africa. The major soya bean production areas are Mpumalanga, the Free State and KwaZulu Natal. Production in these three provinces make up 82% of the soya bean production in South Africa. The other 18% consists of small groups of soya manufacturers, like Irwing Soya, who process their own soya bean crops to supply local animal feed manufacturers with home grown products. As a result of the huge demand, around 94% of the soya bean that is consumed in South Africa is imported, predominantly from Argentina and Brazil.
That being said, South Africa has in recent years made a number of significant investments in the domestic soya bean industry in order to stimulate the domestic soya bean production. South African soya bean producers responded positively to the demand changes and in the 2015/2016 season the country’s soya bean production reached 1 million tons for the first time. According to the Protein Research Foundation, South Africa’s soya bean requirements were 1,5 million tons in the 2015/2016 season, so it was apparent that soya manufacturers were gaining momentum. However, 2016 saw South Africa in the driest year in recorded history. Farmers across the country were struggling. Soya manufacturers also took a devastating knock on production due to the drought, which widened the gap between local production and demand. The drought caused a decrease in the area size planted and saw that the crops that had been planted had produced lower yields than normal.
Luckily, majority of the soya bean production areas have seen some heavy rainfall in 2017 and come November / December (ideal time for plantation in South Africa) soya manufacturers should be able to regain their momentum. However, even if we see some growth, it will take five or six years for the production of soya beans in South Africa to match capacity. Riaan Coetzee, head of the Industrial Development Corporation said that the industry is optimistic that over the next few years, production of soya beans will meet local crushing demand. “If the expected soya bean processing plant growth comes on-stream as planned, it is most likely that the amount of imports will start to be significantly replaced” said Coetzee.
At Irwing Soya we are market-leading producers of soya based products both for the food manufacturing and agricultural industries in South Africa