Published: November 29, 2023

Category: Market News

With the curtailing of organic soy imports from India, Africa has emerged as the leading exporter of organic soybeans to the U.S. This is according to a new white paper by Argus, “Africa rising: The new global landscape of organic soy.”

During 2022-2023, U.S. imports of African organic soybeans reached 68,000 tons, more than double from the prior year. In addition, U.S. imports of organic soybean meal from Africa more than tripled over the same time period.

The U.S. demand for organic soy, which is primarily for feed, reached 696,000 tons during 2021-22. U.S. production fell far short of meeting that demand with American farmers harvesting 273,000 tons during the same time period. As a result, imports of organic soy are needed to close the gap. India had supplied 50% of U.S. demand for organic soy but that has been curtailed due to trade restrictions and tariffs.

Africa has increased its production of organic soybeans. According to the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) Africa’s harvested acres of organic soybeans reached 322,000 acres during 2021. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service, total African organic soy production reached 164,000 tons over 2021, most of which would have been sold as exports. Africa’s leading organic soybean producing countries are Togo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, and Nigeria. The number of certified organic farms located in African organic soy exporting countries increased by 48% from January 2021 through August 2023, according to the USDA’s National Organic Program.

African organic soybean production could easily reach 400,000 tons, which would put the region on par with India at its peak, prior to recent trade restrictions and tariffs.

However, the Argus white paper states that “considerable uncertainty regarding Africa’s capacity to produce an export organic soy has emerged, along with questions regarding the risk and opportunities these supplies bring to North American organic soy markets.” There are concerns in the U.S. organic community about fraudulent shipments of organic commodities from overseas markets.

Africa is not expected to supply the amount of organic soy to the U.S. that India had supplied, according to the Argus white paper.

On the positive side, without the dominant influence of India on North American soy markets, the organic soybean trade is now more diverse and could prove to be more stable.

Source: Argus

To view the Argus white paper, visit:

Organic & Non-GMO Insights December 2023