2005 Soybean Study in Tanzania: Relevant 19 Years On

Kilimikwanza.org Team

Geoffrey Kirenga, the CEO of the SAGCOT Centre, was an editor for the notable 2005 study, “SOYA BEAN PRODUCTION AND UTILIZATION IN TANZANIA,” authored by Beatus A. Malema. Kirenga collaborated as a co-editor with Henry S. Laswai and Fidelis A. Myaka. During those days, he was associated with the Ministry of Agriculture. Currently, at the helm of SAGCOT, one of its key initiatives is the Soya Value Chain partnership, wherein SAGCOT highlights: “There is significant potential to expand the production of soya for animal feed and oil in Tanzania. The majority of the demand for animal feed protein is currently being met by imports and dagaa fish. Despite the Government of Tanzania having identified soya production as a key priority for the country’s agricultural development, presently, domestic production of soybeans remains limited.”

The 20005 study, was Commissioned by the Crop Development Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Cooperatives of Tanzania. The study stands out as one of the most significant analyses of soybean in Africa to date.

The landmark research significance lies not just in its depth of analysis concerning the soybean sector within Tanzania but also in its enduring relevance, providing foundational insights that continue to inform the industry’s trajectory as of 2024.

Fast forward nearly two decades, the Tanzanian soybean industry has navigated through a period of considerable growth and notable challenges. The study initially laid out the sector’s landscape, highlighting its historical development, nutritional benefits, and potential for economic and social impact. It also pinpointed significant obstacles, including limited knowledge on soy usage among local communities and farmers, and systemic deficiencies in market infrastructure that hindered both local consumption and export potential.

By 2024, the soya bean sector in Tanzania showcased a narrative of transformation and adaptation. The production plummeted to 41.1 thousand tonnes in 2022 from a zenith of 75.0 thousand tonnes in 2021, reflecting a volatile industry susceptible to both internal and external pressures. This oscillation underscores the sector’s dynamic nature, characterized by cycles of expansion and contraction. Despite these fluctuations, the Tanzanian soya bean market experienced a meteoric rise in its export value, with a staggering increase of 1934.83% over five years. This dramatic growth underscored the burgeoning recognition of Tanzanian soya beans in global markets, positioning the country as an emerging power in the international soybean industry.

Nevertheless, the industry continues to grapple with challenges in maintaining consistent production levels, as evidenced by the 21.16% decrease in total production volume from 2020 to 2021. These challenges underscore the critical need for sustainable agricultural practices, improved processing capacities, and better market access for soya bean farmers. They also highlight the essential role of supportive government policies and international collaboration in addressing the knowledge gaps and infrastructural deficiencies identified in the 2005 study.

The progression of Tanzania’s soya bean industry from 2005 to 2024 exemplifies the importance of foundational research in shaping the sector’s development. The insights provided by the study have remained a crucial reference for understanding the industry’s growth, current challenges, and potential directions for future advancement. As the sector evolves, the interplay between past research and present realities will be key to navigating the complexities of agricultural innovation, market dynamics, and economic implications for Tanzania and the broader global community.

In sum, the journey of the Tanzanian soya bean sector over the past two decades is a testament to the sector’s resilience and the transformative power of targeted research and strategic planning. The enduring relevance of the 2005 study underscores the value of a research-driven approach to agricultural development, particularly in an era of global market fluctuations and environmental challenges. As stakeholders continue to build on this foundation, the lessons learned and strategies developed will be critical in steering the sector towards sustainable growth and increased contribution to Tanzania’s economy and food security objectives.