Soyabeans and sustainable agriculture in southern Africa

K.E. Giller, M.S. Murwira, D.K.C. Dhliwayo, P.L. Mafongoya, S. Mpepereki

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Maize is the dominant staple crop across most of southern Africa - it is so dominant in some areas that more than 80 per cent of the smallholder land area is planted with maize. Soyabean was identified as the crop with a potential to address the need for diversifying the cropping systems, which could assist in overcoming the pervading soil fertility constraints and could provide smallholder farmers with an opportunity to earn income while also addressing the nutritional security of households. An initiative was launched in the 1996/97 cropping season in Zimbabwe, to test soyabean as a potential smallholder crop. From an initial 55 farmers in the first year, soyabean production expanded rapidly to an estimated 10,000 farmers three years later. Since then, soyabean has diffused spontaneously to most smallholder farming areas in the higher rainfall zones of Zimbabwe. Thus, the initiative has assisted a large number of smallholders to grow soyabean, and exploded a long-held belief in Zimbabwe that soyabean is not a suitable crop for smallholders
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-58
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • zimbabwean soils
  • smallholder farms
  • rhizobia

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