Soybean farming in Nigeria
Soybean is one of the world’ most distributed food crop. It is a cheap source of protein for both animals and humans. It is the only vegetable food that contains all eight essential amino acids. They can be processed into different products namely soy flour, soy milk, cottage cheese and fermented products like tempeh etc.
Nutrients of Soybean
- Good amount of antioxidant
- High in omega 3 fatty acid
- Good source of fiber
- Contains amino acid
- Good quality protein
- Contains low saturated fat
Benefits of soybean
- Can be used as meat protein
- Lower cholesterol
- Prevents heart disease
- Controls obesity and diabetes
- Prevents cancer
- Gives Healthy bones
- Can be used as food for infants
Soybean farming in Nigeria
Nigeria is the largest producers of soybean in sub-Saharan Africa with about 510,000 metric tonnes per annum. Over the past seven years, soybean production has expanded because of the rapid growth in the industrial sector. Nigeria exports soybean worth $85 million dollars in the international market, although most this agro-products are locally consumed. They are used to produce soymilk and also used for nutrition for infants.
Soybean growth is influenced climate and soil types, it requires a temperature of 27 C – 35 C, rainfall of 60cm – 125cm per annum, abundant sunshine, and a rich sandy loamy soil. It performs well in the southern and northern guinea savannah of Nigeria where rainfall is more than 700mm. Soybean grows well in the middle belt areas in Nigeria, benue state accounts for 70% of the total production in Nigeria. Other states that can grow soybean in Nigeria include Kogi, Oyo, Ondo, Osun, Nassarawa, kaduna, Niger, Bauchi, Taraba, Ogun, FCT, Jigawa, Lagos, Plateau, Ekiti, Enugu, Abia and Adamawa.
Steps to soybean farming in Nigeria
Climatic and Soil Requirement
Soybean requires a temperature of 27 C – 35 C with rainfall of 60cm-125cm per annum, abundant sunshine and a rich sandy loamy soil with pH 6.0-6.5
The land should be cleared manually or by the use of machines after which the thrash is packed. Weed-row burning can also be done, continue land preparation by stumping, ploughing, harrowing and ridging which should be done in sequence.
There should be seed dressing before planting. Planting can either be manual or mechanized. Early planting is in April while late planting is in August. Dig 2-4 cm deep and put in two to three seeds per hole.
Spacing can be 25 by 90cm or 30 by 75cm. Germination occurs between three to five days after planting
Other practices for a healthy soybean farm
- Remove weak crops so that others can grow well. This is called thinning, and it can be done when the plants are about two to five weeks of age.
- Weeding should be done manually for a small scale farm and application of herbicides should be applied on a commercial scale farm. It should be carried once or twice before the plants spread fully
- Apply phosphate fertilizer for nodulation and pod formation. Apply the fertilizer during land preparation or during planting. The rate should be 250kg (five bags) per hectare.
After a period of 3 to 4 months, soybean is ready for harvest. Soybeans are harvested when about 85% of the pod is turned brown. Alternatively, soybean can be harvested when the seed is hard or when its moisture content is between 14 to 16%.
Harvested pods are dried under the sun and when they are properly dried the seeds should be stored in jute bags.
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