There are very few crops that are as ‘gifted’ by nature as Soya.
Because it has 45% protein content, it is now gradually being used as a replacement for the more expensive mukene in livestock feeds.
Soya is also used for making nutritious flour, processing oil and even processing ‘soya milk’.
Demand has, therefore, been rising in the country and the region for the last few years.
To meet this demand, Uganda imports soya from countries like South Africa and as far as Brazil. And yet, Soya can be grown in most regions of Uganda. Therefore, this means that anybody with land can invest in it.
To invest in an acre of soya, a farmer growing it commercially spends around sh2-3m. The average yield from the common varieties is 3,000kgs (3tons).
The price per kg ranges between sh2,500 to sh3,000. This gives between sh7.5m and sh9m per acre.
You will not require nitrogen fertilizers on good soils. Phosphorous fertilizer is very essential. For good results, incorporate 200kg/ha of SSP or 100kg/ha of TSP into the soil before planting. Apply 50kgs/ha of NPK.
Weed control: Keep the fields free of weeds
1st Weeding: 3 weeks after planting
2nd Weeding: 3 weeks after 2nd weeding
3rd and 4th weeding: It can also be done if need be.
Available varieties are resistant to most diseases except soybean rust. Use disease-resistant soybean varieties as a control measure.
Fungicides can be used to control soybean rust where susceptible varieties like Namsoy1 and Namsoy2 are used. The most readily available fungicide is.
Rate 2kg per hectare (2.5g or litre) or 1 levelled teaspoon in two litres of water. Best results are obtained when applied at two-week intervals from the disease on set. i.e. when rust spots first appear on lower leaves.
The most important soybean pest in Uganda is the stink bug (usually green) which pierces the pod pericarp and sucks the sap from the developing seeds. This causes seeds not to develop and at times, pods drop.
The plant compensates for lost pods by setting up new ones, but pods in infested plots have fewer and smaller seeds.
When pods are damaged by a stink bug, the plants retain their leaves and their stems remain green after maturity. Green stems among mature plants make harvesting difficult.
For shelling and fresh use, Soya beans will be ready for harvest 45 to 65 days after sowing.
However, for dry soybean harvest, it takes 100 and more days. It doesn’t need fertilizers because with much fertility it may not flower properly. 3N variety grows in 90 days.