Soybean (Glycine max) is an important oil seed crop of the world belongs to leguminous family. It is short day, self-pollinated and having total number of chromosomes 40 (2n=2×20=40).
It contain high amount of good quality protein, oil, minerals, significant amount of essential amino acid and vitamin’s due to which it is regarded as Golden bean, miracle crop, “the meat that grows on plant”.
Soybean is originated from china but it grows well all over the globe. Furthermore, this crop has ability to cultivate in tropical, subtropical and temperate regions of the world. Now days it is cultivated more than 50 countries worldwide.
USA ranked 1st among the largest producer and exporter of soybean followed by Argentina, Brazil, China, India. Globally, soybean planted on an area of approximately 120 million hectares in 2016 and 351.01 million metric ton was produced. Pakistan produce soybean oil production 270 ton in 2017.
Being legume it fixes atmospheric nitrogen for the plant in available form. Soybean is widely used in poultry and dairy industries. Soybean consumption is increased due to increase in poultry sector from last few decades.
It is also used in medicine industry to cure some chronic diseases cancer and heart attack. It enhanced the soil status and protects the farmer field by reducing Striga infestation. Another important factor of this crop it can be grown as a fodder crop, in this way it is a multidimensional crop.
In Pakistan, soybean was introduced along with sunflower crop during 1960’s in the rain fed areas of Punjab and Tandojam in Sindh. While after a long struggles of research institutes its commercial cultivation was started in 1970’s.
For better production and promotion more research work was started all over the country Quetta, Baluchistan, Sindh and Punjab. They developed a few varieties but their production was not meets the demand. Moreover, some of them verities are inferior in the performance. Even after 3 decades it could not get popularized among farmer.
The main reasons of decline in soybean cultivation area are the lack of genetic and breeding work, unavailability of genotypes suitable for different cropping patterns, poor quality seeds, insect-pest and weeds, late or early onset of monsoon,
Overlapping of sowing season with major crops, lack of awareness among farming communities, lack of government subsidies on oilseed crop, High input but low economic return, site specific production technologies and non-availability of marketing system for soybean crop.
Seed Related Problems
High yielding cultivars, quality seed, easily approachable to farmer community is the key for successful production of a crop. Unfortunately, due to lack of research and limited resource only a few cultivars are available for soybean and these are NARC-2, Rawal-1, Ajmeri, Faisal soybean, Swat-84, Malakand, Kharif-93, willium-82 etc.
Moreover, their production potential at farmer field level is very low as compared to others crop. Farmer are facing problem to get the soybean seed from nearest market but it only available from research institutes such as Ayub Agriculture Research Institute (Faisalabad), Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (Islamabad),
Pakistan Oilseed Development Board (Islamabad), Punjab Seed Corporation (Sahiwal and Khanewal), Agricultural Development Authority (Peshawar) and Sindh Agricultural Supply and Services Organization (Hyderabad). Seed of other crop is easily available in market of every city but soybean seed only found from that institutes in this way farmer are not able to get seed easily.
Proper plant population and well establishment of crop stand is very necessary. In some areas of Punjab soybean facing a big problem of germination. Due to high temperature and poor quality of seed germination is decreased at the early stages of growth. Therefore, if crop fails to stand and less plant population then harvesting yield will automatically decreased.
Weeds and Disease
Worldwide, soybean has susceptible to a lot of disease (approx. 35) but only few of them are present in Pakistan. Soybean mosaic virus is most dangerous among others. These are charcoal rot, anthracnose, purple seed stain, pod and stem blight and bacterial blight.
Regarding weeds, in irrigated areas of Punjab it faces more problem. Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) Deela (Cyperus rotundas) Lehli, field cum bind weed (convolvulus arvensis) Lal dhodhak (Euphorbia postrata) Bili boti (Anagallis arvensis).
As like other hindrance insect is also a major problem for the successful production of soybean crop. Soybean most affected by insects such as army worm (Spodoptera litura), white fly (Bemisia tabaci), green clover catterpiller and grasshopper in cotton growing areas of Punjab.
Due to lack of marketing system especially for the soybean produce farmers are hesitate to take risk of soybean cultivation. There is very less number of market which purchases soybean produce and they are not available in every region. Furthermore, low rate of soybean produce and high expenditures on input will leads to decline in soybean production.
Soybean is a profitable crop with increasing demand from poultry feed and private industry. In Pakistan, demand for soybean oil and meal has increased many folds. Although the country has suitable agro-climatic conditions for soybean cultivation but the absence of varieties with high yields potential is one of the major reasons of its marginal cultivation.
Therefore development of new high yielding soybean varieties, latest production technologies, and farmers training is imperative to incentive crop adoption for farmers.
Also, government needs to put in place soybean promotion policy for local production and discourage heavy imports from north and south America. This will help agricultural industry to not only tape the local burgeoning demands of soybean but also enable export of the seed.
Disposal rate of soybean produce should be satisfactory according to the farmer inputs. It will push the farmer for soybean cultivation. Availability of market, quality seed to farmer and proper procurement of market system should be monitored.
Provision of genotypes and site specific production technology to farmers will help the farmers who have not knowledge about soybean. Use of extension wing for the promotion of soybean, to create awareness among farmer community should be managed carefully.
Authors: Haroon Zaman Khan, Muhammad Atif Shabir, Muhammad Abrar, Amir Maqbool, Areena Kiran, Sadia Altaf and Muhammad Amjad