One of the country’s soya bean processors—Sunseed Oil Limited—says the introduction of new soya varieties will revitalise the sector and spur business growth.
Sunseed Oil projects manager Yamikani Jasi said on Monday in Lilongwe that the country’s overdependence on three varieties had restricted farmers’ options while denying processors a source for profitable raw material.
“The sector needs varieties with desirable oil and protein content and this calls for options for farmers to grow varieties the market demands,” said Jasi, on the sidelines of an open day organised by the Pan African Soya Bean Variety Trials at Chitedze Research Station in Lilongwe.
The open day was organised by two United States Agency for International Development (USaid) projects—Feed the Future Malawi Ag Diversification Activity (AgDiv) and the Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) to provide a platform for sharing notes on seed trials currently underway at various agri-ecological zones in the country.
The trials started in the 2017-2018 agricultural season with 36 soy varieties from five African countries—Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—being evaluated at four research stations, namely Chitedze in Lilongwe, Chitala in Salima, Bvumbwe in Thyolo and Baka in Karonga.
Jasi said processors of soy products are waiting for the release of the trial results and introduction of recommended seed on farmers’ fields.
SIL seed breeder Brian Diers said the varieties being tried in Malawi had performed well in other countries.
The open day was attended by over 120 people representing various levels of the soy value chain, including seed breeders and scientists. n