Soya bean is a non-staple crop in Ghana and is predominantly used as livestock feed.
Soya production is gradually attaining commercial status as more producers are becoming aware of the availability of market for the product.
With the introduction of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) in 2017, yields began rising to 1.7 and 1.8 mt/ha.
This remains below what the Ministry of Food and Agriculture believes are achievable yields of 3.0 mt/ha given the needed attention.
The implementation of the PFJ programme targeted upscaling the production of soya bean.
The efforts by government resulted in a substantial increase in yields and production of the crop.
The production of soya is currently being subsidised by government to ensure its availability for processing and use as animal feed by the domestic livestock and poultry industry at a cheaper cost to boost local production in terms of the Rearing for Food and Jobs module (RFJ).
In Ghana, about 90 per cent soya is mainly produced in the northern part of the country and transported to southern Ghana for processing. (Marty et al. 2020).
There is a growing market for soya bean in the country, with an increase in domestic demand consistently exceeding domestic supply.
Both the agriculture and aquaculture sectors in Ghana are major consumers of soya bean meal, a key ingredient in animal feed.
The poultry industry alone demands about 75 per cent of the total soya bean annually in Ghana (Gage et al. 2012).
A soya bean farm.
According to Andam et al. 2019; Gage et al. 2012, with increased awareness of healthy eating habits, people are increasingly consuming poultry and poultry products, meat, fish, as well vegetable oils.
These factors are contributing to the indirect increase demand for soya bean.
Data gathered indicate that there has been a tremendous increase in the export of soya from Ghana.
The competition for the crop as an export product has created shortage of the commodity for use by the livestock, aquaculture and poultry industry and has resulted in price hikes.
This defeats the purpose for which soya bean is being promoted in the country.
The high cost of feed in the poultry and aquaculture sectors is a major constraint to production. Feed costs are estimated to contribute over 60 per cent of production costs in Ghana.
As part of the efforts to resolve the situation, the Parliament of Ghana passed a new legislation “Export and Import- restriction of Soya Bean Regulation 2020 (L.I 2432)” on October 15, 2020 to regulate the export of soya bean from the country. The legislation came into force on December 22, 2020.
The purpose of the regulation is to provide licensing systems for the exportation of soya bean for commercial purposes out of the country and also regulate the exportation of soya bean from the country as well as ensure the availability of soya bean for domestic use to meet local processing requirements for animal production.
It is envisaged by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture that, with the anticipated increase in production in the coming seasons, surpluses realised can be exported through the proper process to earn the country huge foreign exchange.
The export legislation required that a committee be set up to implement the regulations in the legislation. Accordingly, a seven-member Soya Bean Export Permit Committee was jointly inaugurated by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Accra.
The committee is chaired by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), Mr Patrick Yaw Nimo, with the members being the Director of the Plant Protection & Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD), the Director of Projects at the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Mr Alexander Dadzawa.
The rest are a Chief Revenue Officer at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Mr Gabriel Kwame Asamoah; the Head of the Food Division of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Mr Roderick Daddey-Adjei; the National Chairman of the Poultry Farmers Association, Mr Victor Oppong Adjei, and a farmer and member of Soya Bean Producers, who is also the National Best farmer-2021, Alhaji Mashud Mohammed.
Mandate of committee
In response to concerns about the unfair trade practices by players in the industry, the government initiated steps to restrict the export of soya bean to foreign markets.
The seven-member committee has been charged with the responsibility to efficiently manage and regulate the export of soya bean with the imposition of an export permit regime in the country.
The committee is, however, advised to be mindful of all international trade protocols, particularly in the West African sub-region, in order not to stampede the country's import and export regimes.
The committee has since started working out modalities to ensure an effective implementation of the Export and Import- restriction of Soya Bean Regulation 2020 (L.I 2432).