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Improving Livelihoods and Communities through Soyabean Production

Title Improving Livelihoods and Communities through Soyabean Production
Type of document A Review on Good Practice
Publication date 2014
Authors Hassan K.M. Bekheit, Plant Protection Research Institute, ARC, Egypt.
Magdi Latif, Food and Agriculture Organization, Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa.
Publisher See Reference Section
Target audience Farmers’ associations
  • To increase livelihood security of participating farm families by diversifying production and providing access to new marketing opportunities.
  • To strengthen Small Farmer Federation and Associations capacities to provide services to farmers and the communities in which they live.
  • To build awareness of farmers and Small Farmer organizations of critical issues like water scarcity and the link between water scarcities, agricultural practices and climate change.
  • Improve livelihoods and communities by introducing a new crop, soybeans.
  • Helping smallholder farmers diversify their production. 
  • Gaining better access to markets for soybean crops in order to increase their profits.
  • Enabling smallholder farmer associations to provide better services to their members and communities.
  • Building awareness of key issues such as how to conserve water and restore soil fertility.
  • Encouraging linkages between small farmers and the private sector.
Location/geographical Coverage Fayoum, Beni Suef and Giza, Egypt
Introduction Soybean (Glycine max L.), is the most important pulse crop in the world. Soybean is a very energy-rich grain legume containing 40 percent protein and 19 percent oil in the seeds.
Stakeholders and Partners* Central Laboratory for Agricultural Climate, Directorate of Agriculture and all its departments, Associations (federations, NGOs, and cooperative), Cargill Cares Council in Egypt.
Methodological Approach* Soil management

1. Analyzing soil nutrient elements to determine grape requirements of NPK as well as microelements.
2. Addition fermented animal manure or compost in early spring. Fertilizer encourages the growth of wood and  green leaves, which takes away from fruit production, and is not recommended for mature plants.
3. During the season, the crop requirements of water and fertilizers are conducted according to the crop nature,  weather conditions, soil monitoring, etc.
Water management

1.Conducting water risk assessment to identify risks in irrigation water and its quality, thus grape producing  companies established their own laboratory for water and soil analysis. Moreover, MALR through agriculture  Research Center established “Central Pesticide Residue analysis and Heavy Metals, for monitoring  water chemical and biological properties.
2.The water management plan includes using the most efficient computerized drip irrigation system to face water    shortage in Egypt especially in the newly reclaimed lands. This irrigation system helped to switch from flood irrigation to drip irrigation.
3.Qualifying experts on water usage to be able to calculate exact water amounts needed for the crops.
4.Strengthen the role of weather forecast units in the different areas to monitor weather conditions.
5.Conducting training seminars whereas more than 40 Capacity Building and awareness actions were delivered to  stakeholders and attended by over 2,840 in total (730 ♀ & 2110 ♂) until the end of 2013. Pro-poor women their  participation share in all non-technical training related to Soya Beans was o/a 70 % and 90% for the microcredit.
  • Good results of participants encouraged relevant decision makers, government representatives, and NGOs to support farmers’ good agriculture practices which became policy issue in the country.
  • Adopting GAP by small holders and their sincerity in acquiring the weather forecast are signs of change in their behavioral patterns and prove their willingness to change.
Impact* Economic Impacts:
  • Soy production per fedden (approximately one acre) increased in 2011 to 30 kilograms, compared to 200 kilograms per fedden the previous year.
  • A total of 1,975 assisted farmers cultivating 2,460 Feddans, increased their income from Soya bean delivered to Cargill in 3 seasons 2010, 11, 13 by 18%. As a result of Care/Cargill initiatives, each farmer gained an average increase of 250 kilograms in yield per Feddan.
  • Cutting fertilizer cost by 15-20 % valued at EGP 400 per Feddan, by using (Azotobacter) saved around $ 142,680 to the participating farmers.
  • Saving water resources and making water available to small farmers located at the end of irrigation canals enabled them to cultivate summer crops in addition to winter crops.
Environment Impacts:
  • Soya bean cultivation versus rice cultivation saved 446,388 cubic meters of water as per a study conducted by Care on 200 Feddans in Fayoum. Reducing water utilization from 9000 m3/Feddan for Rice to 4000 m3/Feddan for Soya Beans saved 5,000 m3 of water per Feddan, which means saving 12,300,000 m3 of water for the project targeted annually.
  • Reducing nitrogen fertilizer utilization per Feddan by 60 Kg and shifting to Azotobacter needed for Soya Beans, resulted in reduction of chemicals usage in the land by 147,000 Kg/season, which has positive impact on the environment.
Social Impacts:
  • Small farmers capability of producing two crops rather than one pre year by having profitable summer crop as Soya Beans which has o/a same production cost as Rice and not penalized, reduced migration from farming to seek additional income opportunities.
  • For women, by having men staying on the farm due to the Soya Beans profits, allowed women to have more quality time with their children as they have less work load on land.
  • Participating farmers’ organizations proved that can serve and technically support farmers to develop themselves in the same time they still need mentoring and coaching efforts.
  • Participating farmers’ organizations served and operated as practicable organizations in assessing their community needs plan and implement activities that mobilize the community resources in meet necessities. 
Innovation and success Factors*
  • Farmers are motivated and willingly substitute Rice with Soya Beans, meanwhile changing their behavior and obsolete practices in production considering appreciating and understanding that these new practices have positive environmental impacts. Ultimately, this increased farmer flexibility to the effects of climate change.
  • Enabling farmers to change from rice to soya bean production will increased their options to consciously select crops according to markets.
  • Reduced conflicts between farmers on the limited irrigation water supply which is not enough to grow soybean, meanwhile the available allocated water is convenient for Soya Beans cultivation, which makes every participating farmer happy. 
  • Contracted farmers may face land constraints due to a lack of security of tenure, thus jeopardizing sustainable long-term operations.
  • Social and cultural constraints may affect farmers’ ability to produce to buyers’ specifications.
  • Poor management and lack of consultation with farmers may lead to farmer discontent.
  • Farmers may sell outside the contract (extra-contractual marketing) thereby reducing processing factory throughput.
  • Farmers may divert inputs supplied on credit to other purposes, thereby reducing yields.
Lesson learned*
  • Good planning, early contracting, readiness before the season, well identified roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders, frequent follow up & monitoring, in addition to up-to-date markets’ info are the keys for success.
  • Planting Soya Beans on timely manner (from 15/4 to 15/5), using the right verities of quality seeds, increases productivity per feddan.
  • The successive awareness workshops delivered on the importance of using the nitrogen- fixing bacteria (Azotobacter) improved the soil fertility and increased productivity per acre.
  • Planting Soybeans in Minya is perfect and more rewarding than traditional maize, where Soya Beans is lower in costs compared to maize and its residual is good as animal feed and it improves soil fertility which is favorable for Potatoes growers to have before their crop.
  • Supervised Demonstration Fields proved that the new strains (Giza short 111, 35, 82, and 83) are more suitable for Fayoum, Beni Suef, and Minya: due to its high resistance to the cotton worms and their productivity exceeds 1.5 tons/acre.
  • Farmers’ Union role in marketing is indispensable for small farmers to leverage the benefits of the scaled economy.
  • Laser leveling and good agriculture practices increase productivity and save water.
  • Farmers’ associations are beginning to demonstrate a change from a “charity” mindset to one of a self-sustaining community enterprise and started to be more business oriented.  
Sustainability* Since contract farming could be a solution even though it has the following activity:
  • The government through Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation MALR in collaboration Netherlands Government established Central Excellence of Farmer Field School at El-Fayoum to train Extension service and agronomists on the good agriculture practices.
  • In addition, MALR established training and Media Centers in the different governorate to be close to famers to arrange training programs for extension service and workshops for farmers on IPM and concentrated of GAP.
Replicability and/or up-scaling* The Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation in collaboration Netherlands Government established Central Excellence of Farmer Field School at El-Fayoum to train Extension service and agronomists on the good agriculture practices. National Programs for field, vegetable, horticulture, ornamental and oils seed crops are conducted every years. During the crop production season, after training the extension agents, they transfer the information on the GAP to the farmers. The government’s agricultural sector strategy, on the other hand, focuses on land reclamation, crop development and improvements of crop diversity and export promotion.
Conclusion* Explore with Sets Research Station (Bani Suef) helps in the following:
  • Utilizing the station assets for screening, sifting and grading of Soya Beans.
  • Producing Azotobacter and commercialize it through Farmer Organizations.
  • Strengthen and develop network and communication channels between participants to share their experiences during the implementation. Arrange for regular follow-up of community leaders, to ensure right adoption and diffusion of the learned knowledge on the ground.
  • Laser leveling and good agriculture practices increase productivity and save water. 
Contact details N/A
URL of the practice
Related web site(s)
Related resources that have been developed Cargill and CARE Initiative –Egypt Support for Communities through Increasing Agricultural Linkages (Fayoum- Bani Suef)
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* All of these dimensions should contain information that is sensitive to gender, or the difference between men and women.