Is soya beans farming a profitable venture to invest in? The answer to this question is either YES or NO depending on a few factors that I am going to talk about in this article. It is true that soya beans mature in a shorter period of time than other crops like cassava and maize. It is also true that soya beans bring in more money per acre than crops such as sugar cane. On the flipside, though, this type of farming has its fair share of drawbacks.
So is it worth all the hype? Read the next few paragraphs and be the judge.
Step 1: Get A Piece Of Land
You first need to find a good, fertile piece of land with well drained soil and adequate rainfall. Places that facilitate maximum production of soya include Western, Nyanza and West Rift Valley. On average a 1/4 acre farm produces 150Kgs of soya per season hence if you want a bulk harvest you may want to invest in getting more acreage.
Step 2: Get Hybrid Seeds
In order to ensure maximum productivity, it is imperative to invest in hybrid seeds. These can be obtained from Kenya Seeds Limited or MEA Limited. For an acre of land you will need 20Kgs of seeds with each Kilo of hybrid seeds going for Ksh200.
Step 3: Start Farming
It is very easy to start farming provided you have the land, seeds, manure and labour. You may first want to consult a local agriculture extension officer for further advice on the best practices of farming this crop. Besides that you will need to till the land and apply manure prior to planting the seeds.
Step 4: Harvesting
Soya crops mature in about 3 months after which you can harvest and deliver to the market either as raw beans or after value addition. The crops are hardy with very minimal risk of pest attacks.
So Is This A Good Investment Venture?
The answer is an emphatic YES especially if you come from Nyanza, Western and East Rift regions. Nowadays, farmers who were at once planting sugar-cane are fast replacing their massive cane farms with this wonder bean. And is there ready-market? The answer again is YES. There are so many organizations that are looking to buy this product. Here is a list (prices may vary):
Promasidor – They buy at Ksh50/- per kilo
BIDCO – They buy at Ksh45 – Ksh50/- per Kilo
Malakis – They buy at Ksh45 – Ksh80/- per kilo
In addition to taking your harvest directly to these buyers you can package it and sell to local markets and cereal shops. Alternatively you can make soya flour and/or milk with it and sell.
The answer can also be a big NO particularly if you are planning to farm it solo and an on a small piece of land. Ideally, if you want to attract ready market, it it advisable to either form a cohort with fellow farmers to guarantee bulk production. There is no way Promasidor or BIDCO are going to come all the way to your isolated farm only to collect 150Kgs of Soya.
How Much To Invest (Per Acre)
Seeds – Ksh4,000
Manure – Ksh4,000
Labour – Ksh2,000
Others – Ksh2,000
TOTAL – Ksh12,000
How Much To Expect (Per Acre)
Soya beans yields are not outlandish. It is a simple, low margin and potentially practical way to earn profits long term. There are no overnight millionaire stories here. Why? Let’s do the math for an acre of land planted over a period of 3 months.
600Kgs (yield) X Ksh50 (Buying Price) = Ksh30,000
TOTAL – KSH30,000
As you can see, for every shilling you invest, you potentially stand to gain two and that is only after 100 days. Isn’t that better than leaving your money lying idle in the bank?
Soya bean farming is a slow but sure way to earn a living and build wealth. And like any other legitimate business out there, there are no shortcuts. The more human power you pump into this idea, the better the returns (potentially).
As you ponder whether to invest in it or not, just keep in mind that Kenya currently produces 15,000 metric tonnes of soya against a demand of 50,000 metric tonnes annually. That means wide opportunities are awaiting you provided you are willing and ready to use the stairs and not the elevator.
Tell me what you think about this idea…do you think Soya beans farming is a profitable business venture?