Soybean growers demand processing mill in Kunduz
KUNDUZ CITY (Pajhwok): Farmers in northern Kunduz province have asked the government to establish a soybean processing factory following 50 tonnes increase in the protein-rich commercial crop over last year’s produce.
Soybean is a grain which contains 36 percent of protein, 20 percent of lipid which could be used in more than 200 types of products including artificial milk, cheese, biscuit, chocolate and others.
The crop is good for children to protect them from malnourishment and is effective for heart diseases. It is also good for soil fertility due to the nitrogen fixation characteristic in soil.
A farmer in Qala-i-Zal district, Mohammad Yaqub, told Pajhwok Afghan News he was given soybean seeds last year by the Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock department and he cultivated them on his 1.5 hectare of land.
“The crop is very good for us because it is legitimate and has a high income,” he said, adding there was no need for too much hard work to grow the plant.
Yaqub has been growing soybean for the last three years, but in the absence of a processing factory, he sells his produce at low price. He asked the government to establish a soybean factory in the province to enable farmers to sell their product at suitable prices.
Currently, the Nutrition and Education International (NEI) and Zafron Growers Association purchase soybean produce from farmers and send it to northern Balkh province for processing, according to Abdul Basir Faqiri, the extension department head at the provincial Agriculture Department.
He said a soybean processing factory would be established in Kunduz next year. He said 70 acres of land cultivated with soy this year when the yield was nearly 250 tonnes.
A farmer in Chardara district, Mohammad Rassoul, said previously he would grow vetch crop on his one acre of land which would usually produce about 420kg of vetch.
But for the past two years, he has been growing soybean on his land with the yield hovering between 120kg and 160 kg.
He said the Agriculture Department also assisted them with 10kg of urea and 20 kg of DAP and the soybean association purchased a tonne of soybean for $700 -- more profitable then vetch crop.
“If a processing factory is established in the province, farmers will sell their produce with good prices,” he said.
Agricultural experts say the cash crop could be an alternative for poppy crop which is illegal and has many hazardous effects on the society.
Faqiri said they have been trying to encourage soybean cultivation in the province to discourage poppy.
He said had distributed soybean seeds to 700 farmers for trial cultivation and the yield was satisfactory.
To encourage soybean cultivation, Faqiri said had distributed 15 tonnes of seeds, 30 tonnes of DAP and seven tonnes of urea to 1000 farmers in 88 villages of Kunduz City, Khanabad, Aliabad, Chahardara, Qala-i-Zal and Imam Sahib districts.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.