Farmers in the Northern Region have been urged to take advantage of the increasing demand for soybean in the livestock and other allied industries to increase production of the crop.
The demand for soybean has increased from an initial production of about 1,000 metric tons in 1990 to 15,000 metric tons in 2004.
Meanwhile, the demand for soybean from Ghana Nut, a food processing company in Techiman alone is 35,000 metric tons per year.
Mr Nick Railston-Brown, Country Director of TechnoServe, made the call in a speech read on his behalf at a “Farmers Field Day” at Dimabi-Yipala, a farming community in the Tolon/Kumbungu District on Tuesday.
The day was to enable farmers to observe the performance of three current recommended varieties of soybean namely, Enidaso, Jenguma and Salinatuya and the agronomic practices that allow them to express their full potential.
The improved varieties are capable of yielding between 1.2 metric tons per hectare to 2.8 metric tons per hectare as against the low yield of 0.4 to 0.7 metric tons per hectare obtained under the traditional management practices using the same varieties.
Mr Railston-Brown said TechnoServe had adopted a market-led approach to agricultural development by providing rural producers with the incentives and means to be more productive and profitable.
He said soybean had highly nutritional and health benefits to humans and animals and also had a great growth potential as an important crop in the country adding that it contributes to soil fertility improvement and sustainable agriculture.
Alhaji Wahab Suhiyini Wumbei, Tolon/Kumbungu District Chief Executive, said with increased production of the new varieties by the farmers, they stood to make extra income to improve upon their lives.
He said soybean had high protein content and urged the people to include it in the preparation of their meals.
Messers Abdul-Razak Tampuli and Iddrisu Abubakari, farmers in the community, described as good the farming method introduced to them by TechnoServe in the cultivation of soybean saying “it increases yields, has fewer weeds and is easy to manage”.
They, however, said the system relied heavily on fertilizer, which was a problem and also complained about the lack of irrigation facilities to enable them farm all year round.