As the largest producer of Soybean in West Africa, Nigeria makes enough revenue from her soya bean plantations in many states like Kwara, Oyo, Jigawa, Taraba, Borno, Benue, Bauchi, Lagos, Sokoto, Plateau, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Zamfara, and Abuja FCT.
Soybean, also known as Glycine max, is among the species of legume widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses. In Nigeria, it grows majorly in the middle belt accounting for 65-75% of the production in Nigeria.
Soybeans are grown from seed planted in rows in the field and can grow well on a wide variety of soils and climates. It takes about 4-7days after planting to start growing and about 90 and 150 days after sowing to mature.
The pod of soya beans is usually green but turns yellowish brown when mature with the beans being hard and dry. Also, there are other varieties of soya beans which are in color black, brown, or green. Although these varieties are rare.
After the soybeans are harvested, it is separated into pods and stems and can either be further processed or sold. The pod contains the soya beans, from which soya bean oil can be gotten from, and is done by cracking of the soybeans and subjecting it to heat at about 60oC- 88°C.
A solvent mainly hexane is added to extract the oil leaving behind the soya bean cake. The oil is then refined, blended, bleached and maybe on some occasions hydrogenated, it can serve as vegetable oil or as a biodiesel fuel when further processed.
- It is used also for industrial purposes like in ink, paint, and solvents manufacturing. The cake is used for livestock feeding.
- The cake is used for livestock feeding.
- The soya beans without being processed can be used in making soy milk or soya milk which is one of the popular drinks in Nigeria and some African countries.
Soybean is among the world’s healthiest foods and has numerous health benefits such as;
- It contains vitamins and minerals like vitamin B and is also a good protein, iron, and calcium source.
- It helps in cancer prevention due to the presence of isoflavone which can increase the activity of p53, a tumor suppressor that can send signals to the cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells stopping the growth of cancer and its activities and the formation of tumor too.
- Helps in the reduction of hot flash symptoms as experienced mainly by women in their menopause and peri-menopause stage.
- Aids in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and other chronic health issues by reducing the resistance of insulin in the body and at the same time increasing the synthesis of the insulin receptors.
- It helps in suppressing appetite thereby eliminating the possible chances of feeling hungry or overeating which in turns helps in weight loss and healthy weight gain too because of the presence of fiber and protein content.
- It is also good for the heart, digestive systems, bones, controlling of the thyroid hormone especially when it comes to goiter and numerous others.
Mineral Components of soybean;
Molybdenum, copper, manganese, phosphorus, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, vitamin B2, magnesium, vitamin K and potassium, proteins, peptides, and phytonutrients.