LOCAL FIRM, US SOYBEAN BODY TO BOOST SOYBEAN AGRIBUSINESS IN UGANDA

KAMPALA, Nov 10 — The World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH), a programme of the American Soybean Association (ASA), is working with SESACO, a Ugandan soybean processing company in partnership to explore a broad usage of soybeans and its products to stimulate demand and modern commercial farming.

Commercial crop farming is considered as one of the key undertakings with the ability to salvage people from the jaws of household poverty and empower communities with food security but not much attention is currently being accorded to soybean production in Uganda despite its roles in boosting nutrition.

According to WISHH programme manager Anita Florido, partnering with soybean processors in Uganda and other countries in Africa would facilitate the transfer of technical knowledge through providing assistance in the form of developing food products (food value chain) with soybean as one of the key ingredients.

“We strongly believe that if society understands and appreciates the relevancy of soy in human health, its uptake rate will be uplifted, that’s why we need to deal with the demand side comprising consumers and when the demand is up, then the market will grow and more farmers will get interested in venturing into commercial soybean farming,” she says.

Florido was speaking to the media here Thursday on the sidelines of a two-day workshop held at the Uganda Industrial Research Institute to familiarise chefs from across the country on making a range of food products from soybeans and soy flour and how to integrate them in their menus.

Soybeans can be processed into products like milk, meat, oil, beverages, spices, poultry/livestock and aquaculture feeds; while soy flour is widely used as a key ingredient in numerous baked products.

Charles Nsubuga, the managing director for SESACO, revealed that currently the local market was supplied with soy milk and soy meat — the best alternative to that from animals — tea spices and baked products but there was a lot more to explore although the technology to do so is expensive for individuals cottage industries like SESACO.

Soybeans are ranked as a complete protein source for children and adults, providing essential amino acids required for proper human growth and development, in addition to its huge economic importance.

Uganda loses more than 1.8 trillion shillings (about 664 million US dollars) per year because of the population’s ill health related to malnutrition in adults and children, a case detrimental to the country’s economic development.

“We still need to undertake advanced steps into initiatives like research on better seed varieties, mechanised farming, recommended planting methods, on-farm and post-harvest handling among others to boost the yields per land area planted,” said Nsubuga.

Whereas in Ugandan, soy farmers harvest not more than 700 kilogrammes of dry soybeans per acre, farmers in the US achieve yields of up to 1,500 kg per acre.

SOURCE: NEW VISION

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