One of the main food and industrial crops growing on every continent is the soybean. With minimal agricultural input, the crop can be effectively cultivated in various states of Nigeria. This is due to its resistance to weather, diseases, and pests.. It also requires lower use of fertilizers, making it an excellent rotational crop with corn, sorghum or cotton.
Soybeans are edible legumes rich in protein, calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium, and other vitamins and minerals. It can either be used directly for food or processed into soy-milk, cooking oil, infant weaning food, curd and other range of products. It can also be used for feed production due to its high protein content.
Soy is a high-quality protein, and eating one or two servings of soy products per day can be good for our health. They may lower the risk of a variety of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, coronary heart disease (CHD), several malignancies, and bone health.
To satisfy global demand, over 11 million tonnes of soybeans are required. Nigeria produced 600,000 tonnes of soybeans in 2021, ranking second in Africa after South Africa (1,245,500 tonnes), with Zambia (296,866 tonnes) coming in third.
Here are 13 facts about Soybeans that would fascinate you.
1. Soy-based oils are used as lubricants and can withstand higher temperatures than petroleum-based oils.
2. Soy oil is the second most important vegetable oil, after palm oil.
3. Soybeans grow from seed as an annual crop; they produce and die in a single growing season. And take 90-120 days from the day of sowing to harvesting.
3. Soy ink is used to print newspapers and textbooks.
4. Soybean flour can be used as an adhesive to glue wooden panels.
5. Soybean oil is used for hair care as it is proven to be effective in stimulating hair growth due to its Vitamin E content.
6. The soybean is the highest natural source of dietary fiber.
7. One acre of soybeans can produce 82,368 crayons.
8. Soybeans contain hormone-like substances (called phytoestrogens) that mimic the action of the female hormone estrogen. It is believed that soy can reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.
9. Soybeans are a good source of vitamins and minerals including molybdenum, folate, copper, phosphorus, manganese, and vitamin K.
10 . Soybeans create some of their own fertilizer.
Soybeans, through their symbiotic connection with rhizobia bacteria, can fix the majority of the nitrogen they require. It also absorbs residual and mineralized nitrogen(N) from the soil. Soybean has traditionally been produced satisfactorily without the addition of Nitrogen fertilizer. Nitrogen management has been limited to rhizobia inoculation of new soybean fields. It improves soil fertility and controls the parasitic weed striga hermonthica.
11. Soybeans are renewable fuel.
Biodiesel and renewable diesel are both routinely generated from soybean oil, and the usage of soybean oil for bio-fuel is likely to increase in the future.
12. Soybeans can replace petroleum in common products.
Considered as “green gold”, Scientists have predicted that soybean oil will become just as essential to everyday life as fossil fuels are today.
Bonus- Soybeans are sometimes called the “miracle crop” because of their many uses.