Useful Papers


The international market for soybeans is characterised by intense price competition, with Brazil the world’s largest supplier of soybeans as it is a low-cost producer. Based on trade data it is doubtful whether SADC farmers can produce soybeans more cheaply than Brazil. As a result the soybean market provides SADC’s farmers with an opportunity to rather engage in intra-regional trade. Trade could occur between SADC member states and also with other African countries.  In this market, trade in soybean feed has large potential. The demand for bio-fuels, especially in Nigeria and South Africa, could also increase the demand for soybeans. 

Value chain

A variety of products can be made from soybeans. The readings below also provide information about various product markets’ size, structure, production techniques and emerging technologies.  

For information on soybean feed:

For information about general processing activities:

For information about bio-diesel:

The demand for soybeans is cost sensitive; as a result low-cost producers have a competitive advantage. Brazil is a developing country which in the past faced similar production constraints that SADC farmers now encounter. However, Brazil has managed to overcome most of these constraints - studying this country’s production capabilities should therefore provide SADC farmers with valuable insights to improve the efficiency of their production methods. 

Information about Brazil and Argentina’s production capabilities:

The following article examines the impact of South America’s production capacity on soybean prices: 

The consolidation of the food industry in developed countries, driven by customers’ desire for a broader range of exotic food and their desire for better quality products, has affected agricultural supply chains. This paper examines the impact of such changes on the various parties involved in this supply chain.

The market for organic products is growing as consumers in developed countries become more health conscious. Products must adhere to strict regulations before they are certified as organic products. A premium is paid for organic product, but supply-chain issues are more complicated and regulations are more onerous. See:

Consumption behaviour

The following articles examine the factors that drive soybean consumption in specific markets.  

For information about the structure of international demand, view:

For information about China, please visit:

Information about the US’ demand for ethanol can be found at:


Identifying trade patterns provides direction with respect to mapping products to markets. The next issue is to devise strategies to gain access into a market. The readings below cover general trade patterns and trade between significant trading partners, the most importing being trade between NAFTA, the EU and Central America. 

Information on NAFTA:

Information on export prices:

Information on the impact of trade agreements:

Information on global trading patterns:

For information about US exports:

For information on China’s bio-fuel market:


Tariffs and non-tariffs barriers play a significant role in shaping trade patterns. Countries use tariffs barriers and non-tariffs barriers to protect domestic farmers from imported goods. Tariffs increase the price of imported goods compared to domestic goods, giving domestic producers a relative price advantage. Non-tariff barriers usually take the form of strict sanitary and phytosanitary measures or adherence to certification measures such as 1SO 9000 standards. Non-tariff barriers increase a producer’s costs throughout the supply chain due to the complexity of the processes that he/she must adhere to and the administrative cost of ensuring that procedures are well documented

Information about the EU and the US’ tariffs rates can be accessed at TARIC and the United States Department of Agriculture.

For information about the EU’s tariffs, refer to:
For information regarding the US’ import polices refer to:

For general information about non-tariff barriers:

Way forward

The following articles are meant to be think pieces that look at potential future trends to enable an export strategy. 

For information on generic market trends:

For information about biotechnology in Africa:

For information about bio-diesel:


United States Soybean Exporting Council

Soyfoods Council

National Bio-diesel Board

Soy 2020


American Soybean Association