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Crop Biotech Update

Soybean Production Now in Vogue in Borno Nigeria

September 28, 2007

Commercial soybean production is growing fast in Nigeria’s Borno State. A number of farmers in the southern part of the state are adopting the production of the crop, not only for food or income generation, but also to improve the soil fertility and the control of certain parasitic weeds. Soybean production was introduced to farmers just a few years ago by scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) through the project Promoting Sustainable Agriculture in Borno (PROSAB), which is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Borno State has one of the harshest farming environments in Nigeria. Water is scarce because of limited rainfall; the soils are poor; and parasitic weed infestation is common.

“I harvested 4.2 tons of soybean from my 2 ha farm last year, and made a profit of N184 000 (about US$1500) on soybean sales” said James Bubba, a local farmer. Before, food and family income were derived mainly from sorghum and millet, or from cowpea and groundnuts, but improved soybean is fast taking-over these crops. Aside from food, locals are also using soybean for milk, which is expected to provide improved nourishment for the children in the poverty-stricken area. With the increasing soybean production in Borno, large scale oil-seed processing companies have included the area in their annual crop surveys to assess the production potential with a view to buying the produce after harvest.