Ellah Lakes, IITA to Produce High-Yielding Soybean Seed Varieties
By Dipo Olowookere
All things being equal, Nigeria will soon achieve self-sufficiency in soybean as a result of a partnership between Ellah Lakes Plc and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
This educational institute has entered into an agreement with the subsidiary of the listed firm, Adani Staple Crop Processing Zone Food Company Limited, for the production of high-yielding soybean seed varieties.
According to a statement issued by Ellah Lakes, this improved variety of breeder seeds is expected to yield 2.5 metric tons of quality soybean per hectare, 150 per cent higher than the Nigerian national average of 1.0 metric tons per hectare and at par with output in South American countries such as Brazil and Argentina.
The demand for soybean in Nigeria is estimated to be in excess of 1.2 million metric tons per annum, which is a market value of over N360 billion (approximately $780 million).
Soybean is an important source of plant-based protein that contains dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals, and it consists of 20 per cent oil, making it an important crop for producing edible oil.
A by-product from oil production, soymeal, is used as a high-protein animal feed in the poultry and aquaculture industries.
In the notice, Ellah Lakes said the seed multiplication program with IITA involves, in the first phase, the production of the seed varieties on 5 hectares of land located in IITA Ibadan, Oyo State and subsequently, on 500 hectares of land located in Adani, Enugu State.
IITA brings to this endeavour with Ellah Lakes its expertise in the production and supply of high-quality breeder and foundation seedlings to private sector seed producers.
The partnership agreement between both companies will facilitate the production of premium quality soybean seedlings for cultivation at Adani SCPZ in Enugu State, with IITA providing all the technical support required to produce the seedlings for the company.
Soybean from Nigeria has huge export potential because Nigerian Soyabean is Non-Genetically Modified and has a wider range of applications, including as input into infant cereals and textured vegetable protein – which is often used as meat analogue or meat extender.
With its partnership with IITA, Adani SCPZ will be able to significantly boost productivity at its 3,700-hectare farm in Adani, Enugu State, and will be on track to achieving a target output of 7,500 metric tons of soybean per annum upon full cultivation of the property.
It also marks an important milestone on the company’s strategic path to build Staple Crop Processing Zones
across the country, with Adani being the flagship site.
Speaking on the development, the Chief Executive Officer of Ellah Lakes, Mr Chuka Mordi, said, “This is a symbolic and significant milestone on our company’s strategic path to build Staple Crop Processing Zones across the country.
“Adani remains our flagship site, and under the supervision of the IITA, we expect to accelerate progress in Enugu State during the course of 2023.”