The word “Soy” itself originated as a corruption of the Chinese or Japanese names for soy sauce; yet, soybeans were a crucial crop in East Asia long before written records began. Soybean first arrived in Africa, via Egypt, from China in 1857 and has now spread to different parts of the continent. It is now a major crop in the United States, Brazil, Argentina, India and China.
As published by M. Shahbandeh, a research expert in agriculture and FMCG, from 2015/16 to 2018/2019, the United States was the leading global producer of soybeans with a production volume of 120.52 million metric tons in 2018/2019. As of May 2020, Brazil overtook the United States as the leading soybean producing country with a volume of some 124 million metric tons in 2019/20. The United States; Brazil; and Argentina are the world’s three largest soybean producers and represent more than 80% of global soybean production. In 2016, the average worldwide yield for soybean crops was 2.8 tonnes per hectare and the three largest yields per hectare were in Turkey, Georgia and Italy, having an average nationwide soybean yield of 4.0 tonnes.
Anyone who makes the decision to trade in soy has a number of economic opportunities available to him/her. China, for example, imports more soybeans than it produces. As its economy expands, its demand for agricultural commodities will only grow. Similarly, India and emerging countries in Africa will require more food to feed their people as their economies grow. Additionally, as countries with emerging markets grow wealthier, their consumption of meat will likely increase and since soymeal is used to produce livestock feed, your guess is as good as mine.
One other economic opportunity soy offers is the innumerable uses as part of our everyday diet. Whether as an oil used in margarine or as the key ingredient in soy milk and the like; soy’s versatility makes it a viable trading commodity in a large number of markets, which offers the soy processor a wider consumer base than most other commodities and by extension, offers an individual who decides to farm soy a larger field of potential customers for his/her produce.
Furthermore, soy cultivation is one of the most economically sound choices a prospective farmer can make. One reason is because soy’s characteristics make it suitable to be grown alongside or in rotation with corn or wheat, which allows the farmer to maximise his farmland and diversify his investment in various crops. In addition, the nutrient requirements for soy are fewer compared with other crops. Also, soy’s potential as a fuel alternative in the form of soy biodiesel produced from soybean oil further enhances its value as a commodity for trade.
For any commodity producer looking to trade in soy, your best option would be to trade with Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX). With GCX, you get secured storage for your commodity, grain testing and improvement facilities to determine the grade of your commodity and an opportunity to further enhance the value of your produce through drying and cleaning which makes it much more attractive for the international market. GCX warehouses are equipped to properly handle, grade and bag soy produce and also maintain the quality of your grain for the storage period .
All in all, soy has remarkable potential in the Ghanaian agricultural sector, as well as the numerous health benefits it provides and buying or selling through GCX is the best way to maximise your benefits in the market.
The writer works with Ghana Commodity Exchange