In this interview with CHIKA IZUORA, the managing director of Amicable Mondiale Farms, Chukwudum Amaka Daniel, avers that while Nigeria is the largest producer of soya beans in Africa, the country lacks infrastructure to support export potentials.
Do we have local capacity in soya beans production?
Yes, Nigeria is the largest producer of soybean in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), followed by South Africa. And with good Agronomic Practices (GAPs), one can harvest between 2 .5 to 4 tons from a hectare.
Do we have export potentials for soya bean?
Certainly, yes. Worldwide consumption of soyabean is nearly 11 million tons.
Africa consumes about 618,000 tons annually, and uses another 4,800 tons for animal feed. Nigeria is the largest consumer of soybeans in Sub-Sahara Africa followed by Uganda.
So, the local demand of soyabeans is still very high. It is actually scarce at the moment.
Can it support Nigeria’s diversification initiative?
Definitely. Over 1.2 million tons of soyabeans is harvested in Africa annually.
Depending on the variety, soybeans can be harvested between 100 and 150 days after planting.
In Nigeria, we can turn one per cent of our idle farmland to soybean farming, and we will be happy with the diversification. Soyabean oil is another aspect of this sector that is underexplored.
ALSO READ: https://leadership.ng/poultry-association-calls-for-urgent-importation-of-animal-feeds/
Does it have job generation prospects?
The rapid growth of both the poultry and food processing industries in the past decade has increased the demand for soybean in Nigeria. It is believed that cultivation and production will increase as more farmers become aware of the potential of the crop, not only for cash/food but also for soil fertility improvement and strict control.
The market for soybean in Nigeria is growing very fast with opportunities for improving the income of farmers.
What are the major challenges facing farmers in this space?
The major challenge in this space is the labour cost. Labour requirement in Nigeria is high since most cultivations and harvesting are done manually, but it’s worth the investment.
What level of intervention do you advocate for soya bean farmers?
Soya bean farmers will be glad to have processing plants built for us to trench our crops after harvesting the pods. This is where the real labour is.
How much money do you consider appropriate to develop the soya beans sector?
There is no amount of money invested in Soyabeans farming that is a waste, just like coconut and palmoil farming.
My sincere advice is that you seek the service of an experienced expatriate to help you with the initial set up and management to avoid stories that touch the heart.
So how lucrative is farming?
Farming is a lucrative business that requires patience and experience.
Do not waste your money on sugar coated promises of quick money venture. Use the little land you have and invest in agriculture, especially, soyabeans, coconut and other cash crops and you will smile to the bank.