“Cotton cultivation is no more rewarding because cotton prices have fallen, and the practice impoverishes my land, so I decided to get into soybean production for more profit,” – Karim Napon.
Karim Napon, father of four children, currently produces soybeans on his one hectare plot at Po in Nahouri province, Burkina Faso. Before the 2014 farming season, Karim had been producing cotton on three hectares of land, but decided to abandon that and turn to the production of soyabeans
Karim’s interest in soybean production was ignited after listening to an agriculture extension radio program that discussed advantages and benefits of soyabeans to the soil. Motivated by this, he approached the organizers of the program – LAVODEC Company, an AGRA implementing partner – to learn more about soybean production. Karim acquired his first certified seeds from LAVODEC,which supplies seeds produced by local seed companies in Burkina Faso to nearly 1,400 producers in the Nahouri and Sissila provinces through the AGRA-funded Réseau MARP- Burkina project on maize and soya production.
Apart from the seeds Karim secured from LAVODEC, he also benefitted from fertilizers, to improve the health of his soils, and pesticides, to treat pests. These inputs were acquired on credit, and paid back after harvesting and selling his crop. Based on this arrangement, prices are negotiated early in the season between producers, such as Karim, and LAVODEC. Karim also received training on micro-dosing techniques and soybean production best practices, which impacted positively on his yields.
For the first year (2014 farming season), he produced soybeans on 1 hectare of land and harvested 1.7MT making a total profit of FCFA 250,000 ($500). He almost doubled this yield during the 2015 farming season to 2.3 tons per hectare and making FCFA 420,000 ($840). He plans to cultivate 1,5 hectares this coming farming season.
Though not quite old in soybean production, Karim is already becoming a model in his community because of his strict adherence to the planting and micro-dosing techniques he learned from LAVODEC. Last year his farm was chosen as a model farm, visited by other farmers looking to learn more about soybean production.
“I enjoy sharing my soybean production experience with other farmers. I have convinced many of them that soybean is the solution to many problems facing farmers,” he said.
Karim sells back his produce to LAVODEC, which stores for some time before selling out to other large-scale buyers. The money he earns from the sale of his soybeans, he uses to pay school fees for his four children who are in high school. Last year, he was able to buy a plow and an ox to increase his production capacity.
“Throughout the two years of my experience in soybeans production, I have worked closely with LAVODEC for the development of the soybean and maize value chains, and also benefitted from extension officers from l’Institut de l’Environnement et des Researches Agricoles (INERA), an institute for agricultural and environmental research in Burkina Faso who provide monitoring and agronomic support. I have also worked extensively with some private input suppliers,” he said.