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.
Ken E. Giller Plant Production Systems, Wageningen University, Netherlands
Mazwita S. Murwira Soil Productivity Research Laboratory, Zimbabwe
David K. C. Dhliwayo Chemistry and Soil Research Institute, Zimbabwe
Paramu L. Mafongoya Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, University of Zimbabwe
Sheunesu Mpepereki Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, University of Zimbabwe
Copyright: ©2011 Earthscan. ISSN: 1473-5903 (print), 1747-762X (online). www.earthscan.co.uk/journals/ijas