TechnoServe Study Shows Roadmap for Soy Industry Growth in Southern Africa

Crop Holds Potential to Boost Income for Farming Families and Promote Regional Development

WASHINGTON, DC, February 28, 2011 – The soy industry has the potential to improve the lives of more than 400,000 smallholder farmers in southern Africa, according to a seven-country study that offers a roadmap for developing the industry.

The study, conducted by TechnoServe in partnership with Agland Investment Services, assesses the production and market potential for soy and soy products in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Most of these countries feature excellent conditions for growing soy but are held back by poor yields and inefficient markets. Africa accounts for less than one percent of total global soy production.

A robust soy industry will bring a number of benefits to the region. Soy adds nitrogen to the soil, helping to improve farm productivity. Its value as a food crop can help fight malnutrition. And soy is important to the development of local livestock industries.

With proper coordination, southern Africa could significantly reduce its dependence on imported soy by increasing regional trade, according to the study. TechnoServe is recommending a three-phase course of action that includes creating a regional soy industry group, improving smallholder yields and market access, promoting policies to encourage regional trade and scaling up soy production. These steps could help create $217 million in increased income for the region by 2020. More than 400,000 farming families could see their incomes grow by $30 to $600 each year.

TechnoServe is presenting the study’s findings at events in Maputo, Mozambique; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Lusaka, Zambia.  The events are expected to draw more than 100 public- and private-sector stakeholders, helping to spur the formation of a regional soy alliance to spearhead the industry’s development.

The study is part of a four-year program to develop a competitive regional soybean industry, focusing first on Zambia and Mozambique. With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, TechnoServe is working with private-sector partners on a sustainable approach to expanding soy production by smallholder farmers and connecting them to buyers.

TechnoServe and its partners – which include Cargill, the Zambian Agricultural Research Institute and Dunavant in Zambia, and CLUSA in Mozambique – are helping to provide better seeds and inputs to smallholder farmers. The locally grown seeds are not genetically modified. Instead, they are bred to be more productive in the region’s climate.  TechnoServe believes that smallholder farmers can be competitive with high-quality, non-genetically modified seed.

About TechnoServe:
TechnoServe empowers people in the developing world to build businesses that break the cycle of poverty. Growing enterprises generate jobs and other income opportunities for poor people, enabling them to improve their lives and secure a better future for their families. Since its founding in 1968, the U.S.-based nonprofit has helped to create or expand thousands of businesses, benefiting millions of people in more than 40 countries. The Financial Times has rated TechnoServe one of the top five NGOs for corporate partnerships. TechnoServe’s corporate partners include Cargill, The Coca-Cola Company, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Nestlé-Nespresso, Olam International, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Unilever, among others. Charity Navigator has also awarded its highest Four Star ranking to TechnoServe.

For more information, please contact:
Andrew Eder, Marketing and Communications Manager
Tel: +1 (202) 719-1327; E-mail:

Leslie Johnston, Deputy Regional Director, West & Southern Africa
Tel: +27 71 896 2998; E-mail: