For health and happiness, India looks to soybean

May 10th, 2008 - 11:06 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 10 (IANS) India, the fifth largest producer of soy, is about to toast the wonder bean - which actually falls in the oilseed category - at an international conference this year. With “Soybean for Human Health and Happiness” as its theme, the meet will be held at the Soy Processing and Utilisation Centre of the Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

Formally called the International Soybean Processing and Utilisation Conference-V (Ispuc-V), it will take place during Dec 10-14 at Bhopal. So far four Ispucs have been held in China, Thailand, Japan and Brazil. This is the first time the event reaches South Asia.

Ispuc has been a platform for all the soybean researchers the world over “to share their research output and decide the future course of action”.

Soybean - it is used to derive oil, milk and tofu among other things - and its products have traditionally played an important role in the dietary habits in Asian countries. During the early 1900s, soybean was grown as a subsistence food crop in the continent. Now it has spread all over the world.

The present production of soybean in the world is about 212 million tonnes (MT). Five major soybean-producing countries in the world are the US, Brazil, China, Argentina and India. India contributes about 3.5 percent of the total world soybean production.

The conference will focus on the emerging technologies in soybean processing and utilisation as food for nutritional enhancement and health promotion.

Also, it will promote the sharing and exchange of scientific and technical information on all aspects of research and development of soybean processing and utilisation, S.D. Kulkarni, project in-charge of the soybean centre who is the organising secretary for the event, told IANS.

Indian agri-scientists say production and productivity of soybean is increasing in India and now it is about 8.5 MT from a crop area of eight million hectares (Mha). It is projected that by 2020, soybean production in India would be about 25 MT from 12 Mha crop area. However, this expansion in soybean would depend on its domestic utilisation for food, feed and industrial applications.

Called the soybean in the US, and soya bean in Britain, Glycine max is a species of legume native to East Asia. The modern soybean grows only under cultivation while Glycine soja - the wild ancestor - grows wild in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Russia.

The English word soy is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the word for soy sauce; soya comes from the Dutch adaptation of the same word.

Globally, direct food use of soybean is increasing owing to nutrition, health and economic benefits.

It is expected that in the years to come, decentralised small scale soybean food processing units will play a great role in the promotion and utilisation of soy-based nutritious, healthful and economically affordable foods by majority of the world population resulting in enhanced health. Acceptance of soy foods is increasing the world over, organisers of the event said.

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