The soybean thrives in a number of climatic zones: tropics, sub-tropics and temperate areas. It was first domesticated in China around 10,000 BC. Today it is a crop of the developed and developing world, with half the production falling into each group. It is an inexpensive source of high quality protein and oil, and constitutes an important part of the diets of Asians, as well as in their medicinal and husbandry lives. More than 100 countries grow soybeans. In the world context, production in Africa is irrelevant. Nigeria ranks 10th in area, but here soybean production constitutes less than 1% of the world production area (USA 30%, Brazil 22%). Indeed, less than 1% of global soybean production is in Africa. About half of it comes from Nigeria, the rest from South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe and a number of smaller producers. In the last 50 years, however, production has nearly grown 100-fold in those countries, except in Nigeria where it was starting from a larger base and grew only 10-fold. This growth is mainly due to increased yields: 2.5 times in Nigeria and over 3 times in South Africa and Uganda. The introduction of soybeans to the farmer in tropical Africa is still lagging, mainly due to limited marketability of the grain and poor knowledge of its home uses.

Reference to numbers/statistics are from FAOSTAT 2010 for the year 2008

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