• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Making millions from Soybeans


Popularly called nature’s “wonder plant”, soybeans (Glycine max) is a leguminous plant which grows up to one metre in height and possesses varieties of red and black beans. Its star status stems from its valuable nutritional benefits, which the Asians and vegetarians have cashed on as alternative to meat, milk and eggs.

Nutritionally, it has as much as 40 percent of high biological quality of proteins (dry weight), containing almost all the essential amino acids. Its 20 percent fat is formed principally of poly-unsaturated fatty acids, including linoleic acid. This is an essential amino acid needed for body growth, building of nerve tissues formation and renewal of skin, hair, nail as well as the synthesis of prostaglandins. Therefore, soya bean meals are effective in lowering blood cholesterol and the risk of heart attack all because of the presence of linoliec acid.

Additionally, this wonder plant has two percent lecithin, a significant phospholipid which facilitates the functions of the nervous system. Like linoleic acid it contributes to the lowering of the blood cholesterol level. Rich in vitamins B1, B6, E, niacin, calcium, iron and magnesium, soya bean’s major deficiency is the low level of methionine which is more abundant in starchy foods.

That notwithstanding, milk from soybeans is good enough and even recommended for nursing babies, who require an appreciable supply of essential amino acids. But it should be enriched with vitamin B12 and calcium for children allergic to cow milk. Another warning is that though soya bean is of high nutritive value, it should neither be eaten excessively nor on daily basis.

The products derived from soya beans include sprouts, flour, milk, cake, oil, fofu, sauce, composite flour bread making and as substitute to meat.

The soya bean sprouts are used in raw salads and desserts,. They are very rich in vitamins, enzymes, chlorophyll and proteins. When eaten raw the nutritive value becomes available to the consumer.

To process soybean into flour, the beans are handpicked to remove stones and broken beans. Boil the selected beans for 30 minutes. Remove the seed coat or testa and separate beans from the husk. Wash and dry in the sun or roast the beans. Roasting removes the lysine which inhibits absorption of vitamins and other nutrients. Grind and store in an air tight container. Roasting also improves the digestibility for infants and flavours for adults.

On the alternative, the soya beans could be soaked in water overnight. The water is thrown away in the morning after to reduce factors that inhibit the availability of protein. High temperature and humidity are responsible for the Hard to Cook (HTC) phenomenon in soya beans. From researches in Kenya and Cameroun it has been revealed that soybeans take up to 12 hours to soften because of changes in the plant cell wall.

Due to its high protein content tea spoonfuls of soya bean flour could be added to yam flour, ogi, soups and garri as is being currently done by Ondo women with resounding success.

Soya bean flour is used in pastries, pasta, desserts and when added to wheat flour it enhances its nutritive value. When used to replace eggs in pastries, it has added advantage of reducing the health problem associated with cholesterol.

Soya Milk

This is obtained by adding water to soya bean paste in the ratio of 2 to 1. For home preparation, 4 milk tins of water could be added to 2 milk tins of soya flour. With the use of a sifter separate liquid from chaff. The liquid portion is the protein -rich soya milk. The chaff is used as an animal feed.

Nutritionally, it is about 75 percent that of cow milk and good for infants, except that it lacks the s-containing amino acids. Soya milk is rich in linoleic acid with the afore-mentioned advantages. It also contains iron, vitamin B1 (thiamin), and niacin, even higher than that of cow milk. It should be enriched with vitamins A and D.

Soya Oil  

Regarded as a high quality table oil with natural flavours, it has up to 61 percent poly-unsaturated fatty acids. They are used as flavours in salads, pastries and cooking in general.

To extract soya bean oil, the carefully selected wholesome beans are roasted, fed into oil-extracting machines, filtered, refined and bottled ready for sale. Investors in this field according to O. Oni and Chief Consultant ofNucleus Ventures Nigeria Ltd should take cognisance of some salient factors. These include feasibility studies, getting a project site, purchase and installation of plant and for raw materials. Recruitment of experienced personnel, for production and marketing are necessary. A mouth watering profit of N20,000 per ton of soya beans with the crushing plant of 400 metric tons on annual basis.


For Olabisi Alao the Managing Director of the Ojodu- based Morrison Nigeria Ltd, who holds a masters degree from the German Institute of Milking Technology, soybeans business has been a life-long passion. The visionary technologist who first came into contact with soybeans processing in 1980 at the Kansas State University USA established Nigeria’s first soybeans extrusion plant in 1983. Through it he has developed the protein-rich Cerolina, a highly digestible product which can be prepared either as ogi for breakfast or likeamala, eba for lunch and dinner, taken with vegetable soup. It can also be fried like akara. Cerolina, which is NAFDAC-approved, has a shelf life of 18 months.

Morrison Foods has also processed a soya–product known as Fastomeal which is a complete breakfast meal that can be taken without the addition of sugar. According to him soya oil extract from the beans is in high demand by cosmetic and printing ink companies.

Soya cake

This is a highly proteinous concentrate used for compounding animal ration, for growing animals, fatteners and layers which is in very high demand. Alao reiterates that soya cake lasts for one year.

For other products Tofu is soya cheese, prepared by adding lemon, a coagulant to soya milk. Apply pressure for several days until it acquires a semi solid state. It is used to replace white cheese, has a natural taste and seasoned with salt and consistency and very useful in cooking.

Soya Sauce is fermented with water and marine salt for between 6 – 12 months and used as a condiment.

Investment profile

A pre-investment working capital of N500,000, accommodation of N400,000 and another N500,000 utilities are required. With careful management of soya cake and oil plants, the investors will surely smile all the way to the bank.


Ayo Oyoze Baje