Soybean Farmers in Busia Ripping Big through Market Linkages
Credited as being one of the pioneers of Soybean farming in Asilo Village, Teso Sub-county, Busia County, a proud Mr. Dismus Omalamu smiles as he poses next to his posho mill at Akites Market Center bought from his last sale of Soybean, which he had been linked to a buyer by ADS-W though the 2SCALE/IFDC project. In an area commonly stereotyped for maize farming, Mr. Omalalu decided that change is as good as rest and took the risk of Soybean farming and never looked back.
“When I started this journey 7 year back, people thought I was going to give u, I planted 1 acre of soy bean and my harvest was equivalent to 2 acres of maize.” He continues to narrate that this was enough reason for him to stick to Soybean farming for it was much more profitable and had many benefits for him. Through it, his children have been able to attend school comfortably and he has also been able to buy a plot for development. “Through the years, our major challenge has been markets. Sometimes you plant your Soybean, get a good harvest but access to market becomes a challenge,” says Mr. Omalalu.
He is thankful that since ADS-W took the initiative to come to his area, they have gained a lot in terms of numerous post-harvest trainings and market linkages through the 2SCALE/ IFDC project. Mr. Omalalu is also a certified community seed multiplier and through the link by ADS-W in 2020, he was able to sell 2.5tons of soybean seeds at Ksh.250, 000. He used this money to purchase a posho mill and two shops at Akites Market center. Mr Omalalu wants the two shops to act as aggregation points for soybean farmers in his Ward. He has also started bee keeping in which he has been able to set up 2 hives and bought a Honey Centrifuge Machine for sieving honey at Ksh.65, 000. In May 2021, he harvested 7kgs of honey from the two hives and sold it at 800kshs. Per Kg.
His wife Mrs. Wilmina Omalalu is at the forefront of value adding soybean for nutritious purposes. “Through value addition training by ADS-W, I am able to cook chapati, porridge, mandazi and even make soya milk,” says Mrs. Omalalu. She added that soybean farming has given them a good status in the society hence avoiding ridicule. She is thankful that they have been able to buy a motorbike, which helps them carry farm produce from their farm, which is quite far away, hence saving on transportation costs. “Nothing goes to waste in soybean. The chuff is mixed with maize to make chicken feeds and the stems can be used as food for cows or left in the farm to decompose and make manure thus improving soil fertility.” The son, Gilbert Emojong is thankful to ADS-W for their digital marketing training which has made it possible to use online platforms like WhatsApp groups and Facebook profile for marketing. He highly encourages parents to involve their children in agriculture as early as possible and they should not be afraid to give them portions of land to practice from. Mr. Omalalu is keen to note there is a major challenge of brokers and middlemen. Most farmers want instant money giving brokers an advantage of buying from them at low prices, which in turn destroys the farmer’s bargaining power. He also noted that some farmers sell everything and forget about the next planting season. All in all, he encouraged ADS-W to fast-track the process of identifying an aggregation centre for the farmers in the area, which will help them, put their produce together and have stronger bargaining power in the market