Expanding soyabean cultivation to Zambezi Valley in Mozambique

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N2Africa, in collaboration with its partner in the soyabean value chain iDE (International Development Enterprises), is testing the adaptability of five promiscuous soyabean varieties (earlier, medium and later maturing) for the first time in the Zambezi Valley, a non-traditional soyabean area. The Zambezi Valley is characterized by soils with heavy texture, therefore not the most recommended for soyabean. However, pushed by the idea of diversifying crop production and improving diets of smallholder farmers in the Valley, demonstration plots were established in January in Caia and Mopeia districts. This effort is also intended to complement the initiative of the District Directorate of Health who is using soyabean to supplement the diet of patients with HIV.

Left: Soyabean growing on heavy vertisols in Caia District, Mozambique

Right: Soyabean crop at late stage of maturity in Caia District, Mozambique

As follow up, a field day was organized on April 16 to visually evaluate the performance of the soyabean varieties. A total of 254 people participated from which 200 were smallholder farmers. Given that for the majority of farmers this was the first time that they had close contact with soyabean, it triggered an active discussion between farmers, the N2Africa coordinator and iDE. Questions such as: where to get soyabean seed, how to process it, where to sell at which prices dominated the discussion. Just to quote a farmer "I heard about soyabean but I never saw it growing. Now that we know that it can be cultivated in Caia where we can get the seed? How do we consume soyabean? Where to sell and what is the price?"

The N2Africa country coordinator had the opportunity to explain to the participants the N2Africa approach to make seed available through partnerships with seed companies and agro-dealers; the legacy left by N2Africa phase I in terms of knowhow on soyabean processing; the existing market for grain and soyabean by-products. As follow up it was agreed that N2Africa will provide a training on soyabean processing that will coincide with the harvesting of soyabean.

An important participant in the Field Day was the District Directorate of Health, represented by Mr João Simão Guiraze who welcomed the initiative by stressing the nutritional value of soyabean and how soyabean has been incorporated in their programs of supplementary nutrition for patients suffering from HIV.

Participants at field day observing different soyabean varieties growing in Caia District

Wilson Leonardo