Ethiopia’s oilseed sector plays an important role in the country’s foreign exchange earnings and is heading for a strong coming year, a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report finds.

According to a USDA GAIN report on 14 June, in 2016/17, Ethiopia’s exports of soyabeans, sesame and Niger seeds generated nearly US$360M and provided income to millions of farmers, wrote World Grain on 11 July.

In 2018/19, soyabean production was estimated to grow by 5,000 tonnes due to an increase in local demand for cooking oil, soya-based foods and livestock feed, reaching 120,000 tonnes.

The USDA said Soya production had more than tripled from the 35,000 tonnes in 2011/12, mostly due to an increase in planted area, especially on Ethiopia’s few commercial farms that produced approximately half of the total soyabean output.

Local consumption was poised to reach 43,000 tonnes in 2018/19, driven by a growing demand for soyabean oil from consumers and soyabean meal from the poultry sector.

Soyabean exports – 95% of which went to Canada, China, India, Pakistan and Vietnam – were projected to stay level at 80,000 tonnes, having grown by more than 30,000 tonnes in 2017/18.