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Sh200m soya bean farming project starts

By By Kepher Otieno | July 19th 2012

By Kepher Otieno

Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA) has rolled out Sh200 million soya bean farming to improve food security.

The firm’s Managing Director, Kabok Aguko, said they had partnered with Japan International Corporation Agency (Jica) to promote large-scale soya bean farming.

Already, the project is going on in 17 counties and some farmers have switched to growing the crop to tap its rich economic potential as an alternative source of food.

“We have also embarked on aggressive campaign in Nyanza and Western counties to improve the soya bean production and our efforts are paying off,” he said during an interview with The Standard on Tuesday.

Profitable venture

Farmers in Kisumu, Migori, Bungoma, Busia, Trans Nzoia and Kakamega counties, who for many years have been relying on sugarcane and maize, are now diversifying.

This is why LBDA in collaboration with Jica have retreated to training farmers interested in growing soya to increase their production output.

Currently, Kenya imports more than 50,000 metric tonnes of soya beans and to save foreign exchange, increased local production was the way to go.? “The savings in foreign exchange will contribute significantly to the national economic growth if well harnessed,” said Aguko.

Jica has sent a trainer to LBDA to specifically spearhead mobilisation of farmers to grow the beans.

The attaché, Ms Tanaka Yukari, based in Migori, has helped LBDA improve the lives of farmers in the region through training on value addition.

Soya is very rich in protein and is a globally recognised pre-packaged meal for humans and a source of protein for animal feeds around the world.  Soya is also the main component of some processed foods and supplements such as soy meat, soy flour, soymilk, soy oil and confectioneries.

Its products are also considered rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and they contain flavones, considered by dieticians and physicians to be useful in prevention of cancer.

Besides these nutrients and health features, soya products have no cholesterol.

Similarly, they are also relatively cheaper with higher protein content and they contain a lot of fibre rich in calcium and magnesium.

LBDA said this is why they are encouraging farmers who for many years have been relying on growing cereal crops to diversify farming to weather the challenges brought about by drought.

Currently, the price of two kilogrammes soya seed is steadily rising from the initial Sh40 two years ago to Sh150.



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