Kenya faces acute shortage of soybeans, sunflower

Written By: Benson Rioba
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Farmers in the country have been urged to increase production of Soybeans and Sunflower to bridge the growing deficit.

Key players who manufacture edible oils say they have been forced to import the two grains from Tanzania and Uganda to sustain processing demand.

The country is facing an acute shortage of soybeans and sunflower forcing edible oil manufacturers to import the raw materials from neighboring countries for processing.

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Despite the crops being drought resistant and adaptable to many ecological zones in the country, key players in the edible oil sector say the country is currently producing only 50 percent of her needs.

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BIDCO Africa has contracted over 25,000 small scale farmers in different parts of the country to cultivate the two crops.

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The company says it currently requires over 10,000 metric tonnes of Sunflower and Soybeans annually, but local farmers only supply an estimated 5,000 metric tonnes.

Duncan Kimani, one of the contracted farmers in Kikopey, in Nakuru County says Sunflower can withstand pests and is rarely destroyed by livestock and wildlife making it a lucrative crop.

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BIDCO is looking to increase the number of contracted small scale farmers to 50,000 by next year and expand to Kajiado, Laikipia, Taveta, Meru and Embu.

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