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The Cedara Memoirs (1903) show the first record of soybeans in South Africa.

Seed was imported from China but did not germinate successfully. Consequent research at Potchefstroom lead to development trials on soybeans and in the 1950’s the first soybean for South African was introduced under the name “Geduld” (meaning patience).

Since then soybean production in South Africa has increased in both hectarage and yield.  Steady growth in hectarage form 2000 to 2007 was followed by an exceptional increase in area planted since 2008. A total of 480 000 ha is predicted for the 2011/12 planting season. The Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) projects that 605,000 hectares of soybeans could be planted by 2020 in South Africa, based on the growing demand for animal protein.

BFAP states that the rising incomes of consumers will increase demand for animal protein. Thus, the expansion of soybean production in South Africa will be primarily driven by growth in the poultry and livestock sectors and the need for feed. BFAP also predicts an increase in the average soybean yield from 1.7t / ha to 2.7t / ha.  This will increase profit margins and give producers the necessary incentive to increase the area planted to soybean further.

Currently, South Africa consumes about 0.9 million tons of soybean meal for animal feed. BFAP predicts that by 2020 South Africa’s demand for soybean meal will double to 1.8 million tons of which 720,000 tons will be produced locally. This means South Africa will crush about 900,000 tons of soybeans by 2020. Furthermore, the demand for soybeans by full fat processing plants will amount to 540,000 tons. Thus, by 2020, 1.44 million tons of soybeans could be processed in South Africa while exports of soybeans are expected to reach 185,000 tons.

A promising future captures value for growers

Advances in locally adapted GM varieties as well as the high degree of mechanization in soybean production, have made the production of soybeans relatively easy for the local grower. Also, increasing numbers of producers are realizing the benefit of soybeans in a rotational cropping system with the added benefit of an increase in nitrogen levels in the soil.

Therefore, based on current knowledge, soybean is set as one of the main crops for the future in South Africa.

Global resources, local offer

To assist the local soybean grower, Syngenta offers a total crop protection solution consisting of a seed care solution (Apron XL), herbicides (Bateleur Gold, Metagan Gold & Touchdown Forte), fungicides (Amistar Xtra, Artea & Score) and insecticides (Karate EC & Karate Zeon).

Sources: Based on information supplied by the United Soybean Board, USA;;

Global Agricultural information Network Report published by the USDA foreign Agricultural Services.