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Tanzania prohibits the importation of soybeans from Malawi.
Africa Economy

Tanzania prohibits the importation of soybeans from Malawi.

Tanzania has prohibited the entry of soybean imports from Malawi in order to safeguard its own agricultural industry from potential contamination by the tobacco ringspot virus found in its neighboring nation.

According to a recent statement from the Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticide Authority, their assessment of the risk of pests on soybeans imported from Malawi has revealed the tobacco ringspot virus, which could have a major impact on soybean crops in Tanzania.

According to the statement, the virus is extremely easy to spread and can result in a decrease in crop production and financial damages ranging from 25% to 100% for agricultural workers.

Analysts are attributing Tanzania’s recent actions as retaliatory, following Malawi’s decision to prohibit the import of maize from Tanzania and Kenya. This ban was put in place due to concerns over the presence of maize lethal necrosis disease in these two countries.

The president of the Grain Traders Association of Malawi, Grace Mijiga-Mhango, expressed that the ban on soybeans from Malawi by Tanzania is expected.

She referred to it as a trade war, stating that they initiated the conflict and their allies are retaliating.

Malawi is a major exporter of soybeans to Tanzania.

In February, the Tanzanian ambassador to Malawi made a commitment to assist in acquiring 100,000 metric tons of soybeans from Malawi, valued at approximately $30 million. Officials in Malawi’s agriculture sector report that the country produced 400,000 metric tons of soybeans during the 2022-23 harvest.

Mijiga-Mhango stated that the ban will have repercussions beyond just selling soybeans in Tanzania. She also predicted that Tanzania will prohibit the export of soybeans to other countries, particularly in the East African market, through its borders.

According to Ronald Chilumpha, a specialist in protecting crops in Malawi, effective measures for addressing diseases could have been found if authorities in Malawi and Tanzania had communicated and shared ideas before implementing their import bans.

According to the speaker, problems related to plant illnesses or insects are often migratory and can spread to different locations, despite any preventative measures in place.

He stated that it is impossible to completely prevent maize from Tanzania from entering Malawi. It only takes one contaminated grain to enter.

Tanzania has prohibited the use of genetically modified maize seeds from Malawi, in order to uphold its non-GMO stance in agriculture.

The Malawian Minister of Agriculture, Sam Kawale, stated to VOA through a messaging app that he was unable to provide a response regarding the ban imposed by Tanzania.

Dickxie Kampani, the Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture in Malawi, stated that he is consulting with specialists on crop diseases to obtain information on the tobacco ringspot virus in his nation.