Soyabean: Adding value for home and market


IN the previous article we looked at aspects of soyabean marketing.
We pointed out that Zimbabwe’s total soyabean production falls far short of national requirements.
The main problem is a disorganised market where buyers do not know where farmers with soyabean are located.
Equally many farmers do not know where to sell their soyabeans.
And if all fails, there is a huge export market for Zimbabwe’s non-genetically modified soyabean.
Marketing information
We noted that the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA), a Government parastatal under the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, is officially mandated to put rules and regulations to ensure orderly marketing of agricultural produce including soyabean.
We therefore advise farmers and other stakeholders in the soyabean industry to contact AMA for market information relating to prices and availability of soyabeans.
The AMA contact details for marketing are as follows:
To register as a grower (10 ha or more) contact
One can also call AMA on Harare 04 759 625 or 04 758 053 for more information on marketing and how to register as a grower or processor of soyabean.
Fluctuating soyabean prices
It may well be that buyers will take small volumes at a time due to the current liquidity challenges, but there is no question that the soyabean is much needed especially for extracting cooking oil and livestock feeds.
Soyabean prices may be relatively low at the beginning of the marketing season, but tend to be firmer later in the marketing season.
Farmers can sell in phases as and when they need to meet their cash requirements.
This article will focus on aspects of value addition of soyabean.
We shall tackle the topic in two phases.
First we shall look at home processing for domestic use and second small, medium and large scale industrial processing next week.
Soyabean’s food value
Soyabean is one of the most nutritious food crops.
With up to 40 percent protein, soyabean contains more protein than all animal-based meat.
After the 20 percent oil is extracted, the remaining soya cake contains more than 46 percent protein and can be used to make artificial meat, sausages and other high protein foods.
The oil is of high quality with no cholesterol to interfere with heart function.
In fact, soyabean oil is blended with lower quality oils like cotton seed oil, to improve their food value.
Soya-corn blend
Although relatively new in most African countries, processed soyabean has been part of Western countries food aid to Africa.
The most popular formulation is soya-corn blend consisting of 80 percent maize meal and 20 percent soyabean meal, usually distributed as food aid by no-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Zimbabwe does not need this kind of food aid, which by the way comes with political strings attached.
Why, because we have the know-how, the land and the rainfall to grow our own maize and soyabean.
Soya and HIV
The soya-maize mixture contains all the amino acids required to build the human body.
In addition, the soyabean contains vitamins and mineral salts required by our bodies.
But perhaps even more importantly, especially in the light of the HIV pandemic, soyabean contains special chemicals called anti-oxidants.
These substances strengthen the body’s immune system thereby reducing the harmful effects of the HIV virus.
Quite often those who succumb to HIV actually die due to poor nutrition. Soyabean-based diets will go a long way to prolong life.
As part of the Soyabean Promotion Programme, we have encouraged families to increase their dietary intake of soyabean-based foods to improve nutrition and health.
For farmers who grow soyabeans, the additional health benefits come at no extra cost.
But even for urban families, soya-based foods like soya chunks are relatively cheap, but even more nutritious than all the various meats sold on the market.
Soyabean and health
From a strategic point of view, Zimbabwe can significantly reduce its national health bill by promoting production and consumption of soyabeans on a wide scale.
Malnutrition will be a thing of the past and there will be little need to buy expensive prescription immune boosters for HIV-infected individuals because the soya-based diet will help boost immunity.
Although we did not carry out clinical trials, most of the HIV patients we encouraged to adopt soya-based diets, gained weight and have survived for many years.
Anti-nutrition factors
Soyabean contains anti-nutrition factors such as certain carbohydrates that cause flatus (kufufutirwa), and poor digestion of proteins.
If not properly processed soyabean-based foods such as soya bread, ‘chimodho’ will have an un-pleasant ‘beany’ off flavor.
Cooking time can also be too long; a challenge where fuel is expensive or not readily available.
Roasting of soyabean is popular, but research shows that roasting does not remove all the anti-nutrition factors.
As a result, most of the proteins pass through the body undigested and therefore unused.
The same is true when one feeds raw soyabeans to animals.
Chickens and pigs fail to gain weight.
The anti-nutrition factors can be easily removed through proper processing even at home.
The Soyabean Promotion Programme staff has developed a formal course to train people on (a) How to grow soyabeans and (b) Processing soyabeans for home consumption.
The training is normally carried out after the harvesting of soyabeans, during the dry season from June to October.
Farmers, women’s and youth groups are normally trained over a period of three to five days.
The training may combine the two components: Production and Home Processing or only one of these.
Those wishing to get more information or to arrange for training may approach the Soyabean Promotion Programme at the University of Zimbabwe on landline telephone Harare 04 303211 extension 15530 or e-mail
The costs of the training cover fees, materials, travel and certificates will vary depending on the location where the training is conducted and the content to be covered.
Training is availed to groups only not individuals.
Groups or Individuals may make an appointment using the above contact details to discuss their training needs.
Home processing
This involves treatments to remove anti-nutrition factors and processing the soyabeans to produce material that can be used in different recipes.
Use is made of the usual tools and utensils found at home.
These include the pestle and mortar (duri nemutsi), the sieve, rusero and the pots and pans and of course wood, paraffin or gas stove or open fire.
Processing is in three stages: removal of anti-nutrition factors, formulating the soya material and cooking.
Soya-based foods
A wide range of household foods can be made at home.
These will include, but are not limited to soya milk (both fresh and sour), ‘eggs’, soya coffee, maputi, soya-fortified porridge and sadza, soya butter (dovi), soya usavi, soya bread (chimodho), soya confectioneries (baked products) and nutritious beverages and many more.
During training, the participants also innovate unique techniques and recipes.
In the next article we shall discuss soyabean processing on a larger scale including small-to-medium-scale processing.
The idea will be to explore the potential for value addition for the wider market.


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