Soybeans serve a range of functions ranging from food production to animal feeds, thanks to its high protein. Globally, about 87% of all production of Soybean is channelled into soybean meal and soy oil, leaving the remaining 13% for direct human and animal consumption. Soybean meal is segmented as organic and inorganic based on its constituent materials. However, people prefer organic soybean meals because of growing health concerns.
Four countries dominate the global soybean meal production. They are China, the U.S, Brazil and Argentina. Current reports have it that Argentina, Brazil, The U.S, Paraguay, and Bolivia export more than 60 million metric tons of soybean meal annually, representing more than 93% of soybean meal exports worldwide. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, world soybean production grew from 346.02 million metric tons in the 2017 – 2018 business year, and is expected to double by the year 2020 with Brazil, Argentina and the U.S, projected to produce more than 82% of the total soybeans production worldwide.
Nigeria is the second-largest producer of Soymeal in Africa after South Africa, with a total output of 740,000 metric tonnes. Soybean production has steadily risen in Nigeria, spurred by the poultry sector’s sustainable demand over the past five years. However, despite the increasing demand on the part of industries for poultry and edible oil, production and supply are still not available to meet Nigeria’s demand. In 2015/2016, Nigeria produced approximately 680,000 metric tonnes of soya, failing to meet the requirements estimated at 2.2 million tonnes, due to reduced yields. Nigeria currently imports more than it provides with 41% of its domestic production consumed as human food, especially in rural areas. Soybean meal is mostly produced in the Middle Belt, with Benue State as the top producing hub. Other central producing states are Adamawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kwara, Taraba and others. The soybean production output in Benue state alone exceeds 100 MT, representing about 30% of Nigeria’s total production.
In the domestic supply equation for edible vegetable oils, soybean oil is now a significant complement to palm oil. The major producers have recorded a rise in demand for soybean oil as Nigerians become more acquainted with the quality and health benefits of soybean oil. Given its high nutritional value, leading infant food manufacturers in the country use soybean in the production of soy milk, soy cake, soy yoghurt, and other fortified Nigerian staples. Local food seasoning, ‘dawadawa’ is also made from soybeans. Soybean is also used in local industries for paint and cosmetic production.
However, despite this steady rise in demand, domestic output continues to lag as a result of low yield. One of the critical issues constraining the production of soybean is the limited use of improved varieties as well as a shortage in superphosphate fertiliser. If you intend to start a lucrative soybean farming business in Nigeria or Africa, you will find a helpful step-by-step guide here.
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What Is Soybean Meal?
Soybean is a leguminous vegetable of the pea family that grows in tropical, subtropical, and temperate climates. Soybean meal is the by-product left after soybean oil is extracted. Soybean meal contains 47% to 49% protein and 3% fibre obtained from the de-hulled seed. There is also the traditional soybean meal with 43% to 44% protein and hulls. Soy meal is used in products for animal feed, food processing, nutrition, and healthcare. The soy meal market is segmented by geography and application.
What Is Soybean Meal production?
Soybean meal production describes all the processes involved in the creation of the Soybean, from the de-hulling of the soybean husk to the extraction stage where the soy protein concentrate (SPC), soy oil and the molasses are removed.
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Business Opportunities Associated With Soybean Meal Production In Nigeria & Around The World
The business opportunities available to the soybean production includes the following;
1). Poultry Feed production:
Soybean meal is vital for making the feed used in poultry production. Maize and Soybean form the bulk of the feed composition of poultry birds. The industry is divided into two types of commercial farming: broad, vertically integrated farms which produce their soybean meals and small-scale food traders and agropreneurs who buy branded feed from specialised feed producers.
2). Edible Oil Production:
Soybean is one of the oilseeds with the highest oil content. It contains about 18.2% of oil. In Nigeria, the closest replacement is groundnut. The oil derived from soybean is further refined at the local market and packed for human use. Refining oil refined from soybean meal makes an excellent investment opportunity for an entrepreneur.
3). Local Production of Pastries:
The local soybean processing takes place in rural communities. Soybean can be processed into soybean broth, soybean cake, bread, and so on. Soybean meal is also an alternative source of protein in low-income households where complementary proteins like fish, poultry, egg and milk aren’t affordable.
Facts and Benefits of Soybean Meal
- Soybean contains the best sources of plant protein with about 80% content of glycinin.
- Soybeans are good sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- Soybeans contain large amounts of fibre which aids digestion.
- Vitamin k1 (phylloquinone), a vitamin found in soybeans, plays a vital role in blood clotting.
- Soybean meals are also good sources of copper which assist healthy heart conditions.
- Soybeans are rich sources of various bioactive plant compounds, including isoflavones, saponins, and phytic acid.
- Soybean meal contains folate, known as Vitamin B9, which plays a vital role in pregnancy.
- Phosphorous, which is an essential mineral component, is found abundantly in soybean meal.
- Thiamine is also found in soybean. It helps to maintain general bodily functions.
- Soybeans fight against breast cancer and other types of cancers.
- Soybean was introduced into America by a certain Samuel Bowen in 1765
- The US, Brazil and Argentina in that order are leaders at soybean production.
- Soybean meal is grown mainly in Benue state, Adamawa, Kaduna, among others.
- Soybeans have a single life cycle
- The size of soybean depends on the variety.
- Soybean is used for the production of soy nut butter.
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Types of Soybeans
There are three types of soybean, as follows:
1). Green Soybeans:
Green soybeans are the soybeans harvested when they’re still premature and green. They are eaten with foods such as salads and rice. Also called Edamame, green soybeans are large, and they have a sweet taste. They are sold frozen as a way of preservation.
2). Dried Soybeans:
Dried soybeans need to be soaked for hours before cooking. In the same vein, cooking requires about 3 hours for the beans to be edible. Dried beans come in the size of peas, and can be eaten with other dishes as well.
3). Mature Soybeans:
Unlike the green soybeans, mature soybeans are left to mature entirely before they are harvested. They are sold both in the pods and outside it. Mature soybeans have a short shelf life and need to be refrigerated to keep them useful.
How To Start Soybean Meal Production in Nigeria: A Step-By-Step Guide
The production of soybean meal must undergo a three-stage process where soybean meal, soy protein concentrate (SPC), soy oil, soy lecithin and soy molasses will be extracted. Before these stages, soy hulls are separated from the bean.
1). De-Hulling Stage:
Soybean meal production begins with preparing the soybeans for de-hulling. Typically, this step involves using magnets in another to remove metal and also handpicking the soybeans to remove impurities and debris that may interfere with the de-hulling process. After that, remove the husk and pills.
The next stage is the pre-treatment phase. Here, foreign matter is sieved out of the de-hulled beans, and the beans are heated and dried. This heat treatment helps remove the hulls from the surface of the seeds.
The beans are cut in six pieces between corrugated steel rolls, after which the hulls disintegrate from the crushed seeds. The lighter shells are separated by gravity using airflow and will be blown to a silo. The cut beans are then squeezed in-between the flaking mill, which presses them to flakes. The thinner the flakes, the shorter the extraction time.
4). Multi-Stage Extraction
This involves extracting the soybean using a commercial extraction machine. It includes two processes. In the first phase, soy oil is derived from the soy flakes with hexane solvent to produce the soybean meal. In the second phase, the soybean meal serves as raw material to produce soy protein concentrate (SPC). The ethanol solvent removes saccharase, oligosaccharides and anti-nutritional factors from the mixture.
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Challenges of Soybean Meal Production Business in Nigeria
The difficulties of soybean meal production in Nigeria include;
- Fluctuation in the local prices of Soybean.
- Unavailability of improved varieties in the country.
- Exorbitant prices of fertilisers
- The high cost of processing facilities.
- Marketing problems.
- Storage issues
- Lack of financial support from the government
- Processing soybean could be a demanding task
- Soybean meal production is labour intensive.
- Difficulty in securing loans for soybean meal production.
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To Sum It up
Nigeria’s domestic soybean production is progressing, albeit slowly. It still lags, due to the growing demand from the poultry industry for soybean meal and vegetable oil processors. Thanks to its extremely high protein content, the soybean meal market is expected to grow at a significant rate in the nearest future. So, if you’re looking to start a lucrative agro-farming business in Nigeria or Africa, soybean farming is still very much fertile.
The soybean meal production business in Nigeria can be a lucrative and profitable venture to start-up, due to its vast market demand and on your ability to build a wide supply chain network. If you’re looking for a supply chain business to venture into, the soybean meal business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.
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