Soybeans are one of the most traded and processed legumes worldwide. Processing of soybeans maximizes their utilization and participation in diverse markets (e.g., feed, ingredients, snacks, paints).
The communication of innovations to increase value in the value chain of soybeans is quite limited in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In SSA, most soybeans follow the feed markets after oil extraction. Oil fortification, although not widely used in SSA, holds promise for enhancing vitamin and micronutrient consumption in populations. The extraction of oil using solvents has become mainstream in many countries. However, expellers (i.e., screw press) extract the great majority of soybean oil in SSA. Their main disadvantage is that regardless of the strength of the press, there is always a 3-5% oil remaining. This oil is prone to oxidation under high temperature and humidity conditions used in expellers. Also, conditioning of the screw press requires high temperatures, which in the case of the soybeans, reduces the availability of the essential amino acid lysine and the dispersibility of the soybean meal limiting its value for human consumption.
Improvements in the value chain of soy-based products can reduce waste and create value. Okara, a waste product of soymilk production, has great value for the food and feed industries. However, the steps to process okara after soymilk production are not well known. Extrusion (twin and single screw), for soy and soy blends, into versatile products, is becoming increasingly popular, offering an opportunity to create a variety of die shaped products for human and animal nutrition.
Access to innovation and expertise within the global agro processing industry is often blocked for African agro processors because of their lack of participation in international networking forums and industry societies, where next generation technology is showcased. Industry experts, equipment manufacturers, research organizations, assertive government agencies and experts in access to competitive capital could assist SSA agro processors by highlighting technical expertise in a single, virtual forum.