As the human population increases, so does our need for protein. As we get older, there is a huge requirement for protein in our bodies.

Cultivation of soya beans starts in May or June in Nigeria. It is a well-known fact that Nigeria is the largest producer of soya beans in Africa followed by South Africa. There is a global demand for this protein-rich crop and it’s only a matter of time before investors from around the world come for a pie of the pie.

Commercial soya bean production on large farms takes place in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. However, it is mostly cultivated by small-scale farmers. The cultivation of soya beans in Nigeria has expanded as a result of its nutritive and economic importance and diverse domestic usage.

What is Soybeans?

Soya beans or Soybeans (Glycine max) is a leguminous vegetable of the pea family that grows in tropical sub-tropical and temperate climates. It is the most nutritious and easily digested food of the bean family and also the cheapest source of protein, it varies in protein from 24-25%, in oil from 17-35%. The varieties of soybeans do taste different from one another.

There are varieties of leguminous crops that provide protein, but soybeans are the only available crop that provides high-quality protein comparable to meat, poultry, and eggs. The main types of protein in soybeans are glycinin and conglycinin, and these make up  80% of the total protein content.  People who follow a strict vegetarian diet often use soybean to replace meat for protein.

Soybeans consist of 36% protein, 30% carbohydrates, and excellent amounts of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers. It also consists of 20% oil, which makes it the most important crop for producing edible oil. An extract from the seed (soybean oil) is one of the healthy oil in the world. The by-product (soybean cake) gotten from the production of the oil is used as protein feed for animals.

African’s annual expenditure on soybeans is about 618,000 tons and uses 4,800 tons on animal feed. The plant is classified as an oilseed rather than a pulse by the United nation food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). 25% of Nigeria’s domestic production of soybeans is consumed in the rural areas as human food.

Soybeans are versatile as they can be cooked, fermented, dried and converted into products like milk, flour, tofu, and more, it is usually coated with brown or grey fleece. Soybean is also processed into soy ice cream, soy yogurt, soy cheese, etc.

In Africa, dry soybean is used to produce milk substitutes and flour. Soya beans grow well on all kinds of soil except deep soils with poor water retention, the plant varies from less than 0.2 to 2.0m. The pods, stems, and leaves are covered with fine brown or gray hairs.

The pH of the soil should range from 6.0 to 6.5, liming may be required. Rainfall required should be in the range of 500 to 700mm for good yields. Enough water supply is required especially during the process of the cod and beans expansion.

Harvesting of the crops takes place in late October to Nov yearly. The crops are harvested 3-4 months after planting, but this depends on the crop’s time and the type of seed used. The seeds that mature early could be harvested for grain after 70 days of planting and 180 days for the seeds that mature late, the soybean can be harvested making use of the hands.

When most of the leaves have aged and turned yellow and one pod of each plant has turned black or brown then soybean is mature. When harvesting soya beans, you need to be careful. You could pull it out with its roots or cut the part of the plant near the ground. After harvesting, it should be dried for some time and its moisture content should not be less than 12% before taken to the store. It should be stored in a clean store.

Steps involved in starting soybean farming

  • Get a land that has good soil for soybean
  • The right type of seed should be used
  • Use the estimated amount of seed required for the land
  • Sow/plant at the right time
  • Enrich the soil by adding fertilizer to it
  • Add Brady rhizobium to the seeds, it is a nitrogen-fixing soil bacterium.
  • Water the soil with the right proportion of water at the right time

Benefits of Soy Beans

  • It helps to improve blood circulation
  • The impressive levels of zinc, selenium, copper, magnesium, and calcium in soybean help in keeping the bones stronger and healthy.
  • It helps in healthy digestion due to dietary fiber.
  • Soybeans possess anti-cancer properties
  • It helps in healthy weight management due to its high protein content, it helps in leaner muscle.

Eating soybean-based foods may reduce the risk of various health problems, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, coronary heart disease (CHD), some cancers, and improve bone health. It is also a source of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K1, folate, copper, manganese, phosphorus, and thiamine.

Eat soya beans to be a partaker of the benefits it has to offer.