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Soya Beans - transforming the lives of many
International Video Fair (IVF)
Extracted from IVF Newsletter: Issue No 9 (Sept - Dec 2006)
November 01, 2006

Soya Bean is miraculously transforming the lives of many people in Africa due to its high nutritional properties.

The crop which has its origins in Asia is high in protein and is generally good for everyone's health. However in recent years it has been largely recommended for people who are living with the HIV virus.

In countries like Nigeria Soya production and marketing has become big business due to its nutritional properties and that it is a cheap source of protein. Many women are now able to generate income from selling Soya bean products, giving them financial independence to look after their families.

"Soya beans are a near perfect crop for a country like Nigeria," says Lukas Brader, director general of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in a recent article on the benefits of Soya. "Nutritionally, they carry twice the protein of meat or poultry and contain all eight essential amino acids needed for childhood development."

Not only is it nutritious to humans but to soil too, thus many farmers worldwide are farming it as it is far less vulnerable to local insects than African bean crops and require few insecticide sprays. It fixes atmospheric nitrogen, which reduces the need for farmers to buy fertilizer.

Ndaka Moyo, a Zimbabwean woman, learnt the skill of making Soya products from her father and for several years now has been teaching it to others - her family and church members, neighbors, relatives and friends.

"I was taught by my father Mr Jim Rose, who learnt it from a publication entitled The Book of Tofu," she said.

She also teaches this skill to people living with the HIV virus who visit The Centre, an AIDS counseling organization, which also gives advice on proper diet, gardening on beneficial herbs and home based care.

"Yes, it is an excellent source of protein. Some people who were bedridden with the virus recovered when given Soya milk by The Centre. Many people were also helped by E-pap which contains Soya flour," said Ndaka.

She hopes to spread the skill to Zimbabwean communities in particular women on the benefits of using and making Soya Bean products.

"Well I hope to be able to spread the word about eating healthy to people living with the virus, in particular the benefits of Soya products. In essence I would like to reach those that are affected by the HIV & AIDS virus as well those infected."

Ndaka who has been selling Soya products on a small scale believes the market in Zimbabwe is huge due to economic hardships that have seen many products out of reach of the majority of ordinary people.

20 litres of Soya milk costs the same as one litre of dairy milk and it has fifty percent more protein. In making Soya milk, one teaspoon of Dolomite is added for each litre to add calcium, which is important for growing children.

Soya milk has an acquired taste and some people may like it immediately while others may not like the taste initially, which is different from cow's milk.

In making Soya milk, one cup of beans is soaked, drained rinsed, mashed and mixed with four cups of water. The mixture is brought to boil while stirring. Once it has boiled the mixture is then poured into porous embroidery cloth sack and pressed for milk. The pressed milk is then boiled for an additional 10 minutes.

Other products that can be made from Soya are Tofu, Okara, Soya Lacto and Soya yogurt. Tofu is something like cheese while Okara is what is left in the bag after the milk has been pressed. When baked in the oven it can be used as chunks.

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