Soya beans farming is another agribusiness that has the potential to make you fantastically rich.
Soya bean or in the US parlance, soybean is a leguminous crop that originated from eastern Asia where it is an essential part of their diets, but was said to have been introduced to Ibadan, Nigeria in 1908.
Nigeria has since risen to be the largest producer of the crop in sub-Saharan Africa.
Soybean grows well in many states of the federation. It grows very well in states such as Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Plateau, Niger, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kwara, Abuja, Bauchi and Borno. It has also been found to do well in the South East, South South and South West regions of the country.
However, most of the soybeans producers in Nigeria are smallholder farmers. But in countries like South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, soya beans farming are cultivated on a large scale and in commercial quantity as well. They are also grown in other parts of the world especially in South and North Americas. The US accounts for 32 percent of world total production, Brazil 31 percent and Argentina 18 percent.
Soya bean is a very important global crop because of its chemical composition of over 36 percent protein, 30 percent carbohydrates, dietary fibre, vitamins and mineral salts.
It plays important role in fighting malnutrition, especially protein deficiency Africa where animal protein is hard to come by poor masses. Of all crops that are sources of protein, soybeans are the only one that provide cheap and high quality protein comparable to that of meat, poultry and eggs. Soya beans still have a number of other beneficial health effects such as prevention of breast and prostate cancers.
Dry soya beans are used to produce flour and milk substitutes. The bean curds are fried and eaten as snacks or breakfast. Soybean meal is very important because it is fat-free, and a cheap source of protein to both humans and animals.
Soybean products are essential ingredients in meat and dairy products. They also contain significant dietary minerals and vitamins necessary for healthy living. Vegetable oil extracted from soya beans are used in industrial applications. It consists of 20 percent oil and so very useful in producing edible oil.
Soya bean is a crop with long domestication from wild species to modern variety and so has many cultivars. Each region has a particular species and used for a particular purpose. For instance, perennial soya bean which originated from Africa is widely used as pasture crops. Meanwhile, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture has developed high-yielding, rust-resistant, soil deficiency tolerant varieties.
One can seek expert advice in this regard. Soya bean crop bears a hairy pod that grows in clusters of between three and five with each pod containing two to four seeds.
The seeds have variety of sizes and colours such as brown, black, blue, green and yellow. The mature bean is hard and water-resistant. It protects the cotyledon from damage.
Select soya beans seeds suitable to the climatic condition in your locality. If you are in the Northern region, go for variety that has short duration for maturity.
Clear the land and employ farm hands if you are not privileged to use tractor for planting. You can raise beds for your planting or you make ridges. Select good seeds for your planting. Note that seeds with cracks will not germinate.
Ensure that you weed at the appropriate time to get maximum yield. Apply fertilizer where necessary. Part of the problems of soya beans farming in this clime is low yields due to shortage of fertilizer. But, with the accelerated attention being given to agriculture now in the country, farming input such as fertilizer may soon be overcome.
Another problem that the IITA has addressed is high cost of cultivation and harvesting occasioned by manual labour. It has adapted some farming techniques and processing machines to reduce the drudgery involved in farming.
Soya beans are eaten whole. The bean curd can be fried and eaten as a snack or breakfast food. Dry soybeans are used to produce milk substitutes and flour.
Nigeria is equally the largest consumer of soya beans in Sub-Sahara Africa followed by Uganda. Reports have it that worldwide consumption of soybean is nearly 11 million tons.
Disease and Pests
Many diseases attack soybeans. They are rust caused by fungus and attacks and destroys the plant leaves. Others are red leaf blotch, frog-eye leaf spot, bacterial pustule, bacterial blight and soybean mosaic virus. For pests, there are pod and foliage feeders, bean flies and nematodes.
The IITA has also developed species resistant to all these diseases and how best to tackle the pests. Make inquiries.
Soybean crop matures and can be harvested between 100 and 150 after planting, depending however, on the variety. Before harvesting, ensure that you have ready market for the produce. A little market research will aid you in your produce distribution and to determine where you will get good price for your produce.
Soybeans contain some toxic compounds that require prolonged soaking and cooking. However, in the western world, they are processed into a number of products such as soymilk, soy flour, soy sauce and soybean oil.
Apart from farming, you can invest in producing soymilk, soy flour or soybean oil. I bet you, it is a win-win situation for all of them. So go ahead and not only employ yourself but also others. The sky is your limit.
The demand for soybeans has greatly increased because of the rapid growth in the poultry industry and therefore created a demand-supply gap that has to be filled by imports. Determined people can larch on this to go into commercial soybeans farming to fill the gap and make a lot of money for themselves.
Besides, one can go a step further and think big by expanding the farm to produce more for export to earn dollars and pounds sterling. Or you go into processing as discussed earlier. Join the pioneers of this revolution to export agro-allied products to diversify this import-dependent economy. Right on, you will succeed!
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