Nigeria is the largest producer of Soybeans in Africa, producing over 510,000 metric tonnes per annum, while the yearly global consumption rate of the crop sitting at around 70 million metric tonnes, with the USA, Brazil, Argentina and China accounting for almost 90% of the total world output.
Over the past few years, soybean production and consumption has expanded rapidly because of the growth in the industrial sector in oil production, animal feed production, and much more. And the large portion of the crop’s production in Nigeria has been used locally and not exported, although Nigeria exports soybean worth around 85 million dollars to the international market yearly.
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Despite local production rates and demands, the international demand for soybeans continues to rise as the diverse uses of the cash-crop crop keeps increasing, therefore creating a huge investment opportunity in Soybeans farming in Nigeria, Africa, and many other places around the world.
With a fast-growing local and international demand for the production and consumption of soybeans, soybeans farming in Nigeria has placed the venture as a key agricultural business for new and existing entrepreneurs to venture into.
If you’re looking for how to start soybeans farming in Nigeria, this article goes in-depth on what to do:
What Is Soybeans
Soybeans (Glycine max) is a type of legume which is high in protein. It is an important part of global diets, especially Asian, and has been consumed for thousands of years.
The crop is mainly grown in Asia, South & North America, and some parts of Africa. And it is believed that it might have been introduced to Africa around the19th century by Chinese traders along the east coast of Africa.
Business Opportunities In Soybeans Farming Around The World
Soybeans production is lucrative because of its vast local and international uses, making it a fast-selling local and export commodity, especially since Nigeria has a good comparative advantage in its production and would keep increasing its yearly output.
Some of the business opportunities involved in soybeans farming in Nigeria include;
1). Source Of Affordable Food & Animal Feed:
Soybeans are a great source of healthy and affordable food options for the world. Also called soya beans, it can be used to make meals like tofu, milk, cheese, and also animal feeds, and in the process, serve as a great solution to for affordable food used to reduce reducing malnutrition, hunger, and poverty in both Nigeria, Africa, and the world at large.
2). Source Of Protein and Cholesterol Free Oil:
Soybeans remain the world’s foremost provider of protein and the oil gotten from it is one of the most healthy heart-friendly oil-free of proteins and cholesterol.
Soy oil is the biggest use of the soybeans and is where the majority of the opportunity in soybeans farming in Nigeria or Africa largely lies.
3). A huge Income Generation opportunity:
Soybeans has a very high demand internationally, therefore, creating large export and local supply opportunities for farmers and individuals looking to go into its production.
4). Other Uses:
Soybeans can also be used in manufacturing fuel, candles, crayons, and engine lubricants.
Facts And Benefits Of Soya Beans Farming
- Soybeans are healthy and rich in protein
- It can be taken as milk alternatives and could also be used as a form of food supplements
- Soybeans oil extract is also used in the manufacturing of environmentally friendly fuel, as well as candles, crayons, and engine lubricants
- Soya milk and cheese are also options for those looking to replace dairy in the diet
- Soybeans are a great source of soybean oil
- Soybeans can be used as feeds for farm animals and pets
- Soybeans contains a high presence of protein, carbohydrate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and vitamin C
- Soybeans farming creates job opportunities in rural and urban communities
- Soybeans are not expensive to cultivate
How To Start A SoyBeans Farming In Nigeria: Step By Step Guide
1). Find Suitable Farmland:
The first stage in soybeans planting is to identify a suitable location with a conducive climate where the crop can thrive.
Soybean requires a temperature of 27 C – 35 C with rainfall of 60cm-125cm per annum, abundant sunshine and rich sandy loam soil with pH 6.0-6.5. It is also important to note that Southeastern and southwestern parts of Nigeria are very suitable for the cultivation of soya beans, although the crop also grows in Northern Nigeria. But soybean seeds usually don’t grow well in rainy regions.
2). Choose The Right Seed Type:
Your choice of seeds should be based on the area you are planting and what grows well in those areas.
These seeds should be planted 2 inches into the ground and would start shooting out within two weeks of planting.
3). Planting And Maintenance:
The planting and maintenance of your soya bean plants are done in stages which include:
- There should be seed dressing before planting.
- Planting can either be manual or mechanized and also note early planting starts in April while late planting starts in August.
- Dig 2-4 cm deep and put in two to three seeds per hole.
- Two to five weeks into planting, evaluate your crops and remove weak crops to give space for others to thrive. This is called thinning.
- Weeding should be done manually for a small scale farm and application of herbicides should be done on a commercial scale farm. It should be done once or twice before the plants spread fully
- Apply phosphate fertilizer for nodulation and pod formation. Apply the fertilizer during land preparation or planting. The rate should be 250kg per hectare.
4). Harvesting Your Soybeans:
You can start harvesting three months after planting. But when it comes to harvesting the crop, it takes a very painstaking and hard process. Drought weather is very useful for your harvest and excessive moisture can be too detrimental.
It is also important to note that the level of development of the seed is very important, as if you harvest before maturity or over-mature you won’t get the right texture, moisture, and taste.
Challenges Of Soya Beans Farming In Nigeria Or Africa
Some basic challenges that affect Soybeans farming in Nigeria are;
- Lack of capital for large scale mechanized Soybeans farming
- Lack of skilled manpower
- Soybeans are prone to pest and disease infections
- Lack of adequate storage facilities
- Lack of adequate government intervention to support farmers
- Lack of machines and infrastructural constraints
- Planting and cultivation costs and initial capital for soybeans farming can be high for small-scale agropreneurs if they don’t have thorough information.
- Most farmers in Nigeria are unable to obtain and utilize vital farm inputs.
- Inefficient crop management techniques.
- Lack of substantial investments and loans for soybeans production.
- Inadequate funding of soybeans farming research and development facilities.
- Issues with harvesting processes and methods
Although Nigeria remains the largest producer of soybeans in Africa, production hasn’t reached its full potential because soybeans farming in Nigeria is largely operated by small farm holders who grow the crop as a minor crop amongst other major crops like maize, beans, cassava, and more.
This has made soybeans production a very profitable and lucrative business as the supply chains are inexhaustible and it yields very fast returns.
So if you are looking for a profitable farming business to venture into Soybeans farming in Nigeria is a great option to venture into.
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