The Zimbabwean government recently passed Statutory Instrument 129 of 2023, which implements notable changes around the production, sale, and purchase of soya beans in the country.

These amendments to the soya bean regulations introduce provisions that alter the options for how farmers can sell their crops and how buyers can procure them. The regulations also impose export restrictions and facilitate domestic transportation.

In this blog article, we break down the key aspects of SI 129 of 2023 and what they mean for soya bean producers, buyers, and other players across the soya bean value chain in Zimbabwe.

We provide an easy-to-understand overview of all the major changes, new rules, and their implications. Additionally, we include a Frequently Asked Questions section that covers some of the major topics in more detail.

Whether you are a contract soya bean farmer, a new self-financed producer, an exporter, or a buyer at a processing plant, it is important to understand these regulatory changes and how they may impact you. We hope this guide provides clarity and insights into Zimbabwe’s evolving soya bean landscape

Here is a list of FAQs explaining the key provisions of Zimbabwe’s new Statutory Instrument 129 of 2023 in simple language:

Q: What does this new law do?

SI 129 of 2023 amends the rules around the sale and purchase of soya beans in Zimbabwe. It changes who farmers can sell to, and who buyers can buy from, allows some farmers to sell to the ZMX, restricts soya bean exports, and now requires farmers to have a permit when transporting soya beans.

What does the new law say about the purchase and sales of soya beans?

Contract soya bean farmers can only sell to their contractor or the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), like before. Self-financed registered farmers don’t have a contractor, so they can also sell through the ZMX, to processors in limited quantities, or to contractors if certain conditions are met.

Can farmers still sell soya beans to contractors?

Yes, farmers who have contracted with a registered soya bean contractor can still sell their soya beans to that contractor. This has not changed.

What if a farmer did not contract with anyone and financed themselves?

A farmer who financed their own soya bean production from their own funds, called a “self-financed farmer”, has more options. They can sell through the Zimbabwe Mercantile Exchange warehouse system, directly to the Grain Marketing Board, to a processor under certain limits, or even to a contractor if certain conditions are met.

Do buyers have to buy from contractors like before?

Mostly yes. Buyers still need to buy from the specific contractors the soya beans are contracted with. The only exception is registered self-financed farmers, who buyers can buy from if they follow certain rules like keeping the soya beans separate.

Who can export soya beans from Zimbabwe?

The new law says only the Grain Marketing Board can export soya beans until the Minister of Agriculture specifies a date when others can export. This restricts soya bean exports to just the GMB for now.

Are there any changes to transporting soya beans?

There is a limit to the quantity of soya beans that farmers and transporters can freely move. Farmers can transport up to 5 x 50kg bags of soya beans between areas without confiscation.
The GMB can issue permits to contract farmers and transporters to easily move soya beans, which helps get the soya beans to market.

What do I do if I want to transport more than this?

he new law allows the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to issue permits to contract farmers, transporters, and others to easily move contracted soybeans.

Who can apply for permits?

Registered soybean contractors, contract farmers, self-financed farmers, transporters acting as agents, and others involved in moving contracted soybeans can apply. They need to show proof of registration.

When did this law come into effect?

SI 129 of 2023 became effective on the date it was published, which was July 21, 2023. All of these changes are now law.

Are there any other changes in the law?

The definition now includes the Zimbabwe Mercantile Exchange (ZMX) as an authorised agency for soya bean sales, in addition to existing agencies.

What is an authorised person in terms of this law?

An “authorised person” refers to someone authorised to act on behalf of an authorised agency like the ZMX. This allows their representatives to facilitate soya bean sales.

What is the Zimbabwe Mercantile Exchange (ZMX)?

The ZMX is an agricultural commodities exchange established by the government in 2021. It provides a regulated marketplace for buyers and sellers of agricultural products like soya beans.

How does the ZMX relate to these new soya bean regulations?

The new law added the ZMX as an “authorised agency” for soya bean sales. This means self-financed soya bean farmers can now sell their soya beans through the warehouse receipt system on the ZMX

What is the warehouse receipt system?

The ZMX certifies warehouses that can store agricultural commodities. Farmers can deposit their soya beans at the certified warehouses and get a receipt. The receipt can then be sold on the ZMX platform to buyers. This gives farmers another sales channel.

Who can participate on the ZMX?

Participation is open to registered soya bean producers, buyers, processors, and other registered agricultural value chain actors. Both Zimbabwean and international buyers can participate.

What are the benefits of selling your soya beans through the ZMX?

Selling through the ZMX provides self-financed farmers potential benefits like:
Access to many buyers, not just contractors
Potentially better prices through exchange bids
Assured payment on ZMX platform
Reduced transport costs to warehouses vs buyers

What to the complex definitions in the law mean?

We understand that legalise can be complicated so here are simple definitions for some of the terms used in the law and what they mean in everyday language.
“Own funds” – The farmer’s own money.
“Processor” – A soya bean miller or processor.
“Registered” – Registered under relevant agricultural laws.
“Self-financed farmer” – A registered farmer using their own funds, not under contract.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?

You can contact the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development or the Grain Marketing Board for more information.

The recently implemented Statutory Instrument 129 introduces major changes to Zimbabwe’s soya bean regulations that restructure selling and purchasing channels. While creating more options for self-financed farmers, it centralizes exports under the GMB and enforces strict rules around contracted soya beans. These regulatory shifts aim to exercise greater control over the soya bean trade