US, Afghanistan partner to create soy processing plant

Goal to develop feed market in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s first commercial soybean value chain has been established through the partnership of the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s Food for Progress Program, the American Soybean Association‘s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health Program, and the Soybeans in Agricultural Renewal of Afghanistan Initiative.

People and livestock alike will benefit from the high-protein soy flour, soy meal and crude soybean oil produced at the Mazar-e-Sharif soybean processing facility. A solid supply of soybeans is key to the processing plant serving as a reliable source to its customers, said the partners, and throughout the three-year project, more than 200,000 bushels of U.S. soybeans will augment local production processed in the plant.

Developing country markets like Afghanistan represent a growing demand for U.S. feed ingredients, said Perdue Grain and Oilseed Vice president John Cassidy. For example, the USDA purchased 1,500 metric tons of soybeans for the processing plant’s use from Perdue’s partnership with Commercial Lynks, a Virginia-based trading company. Perdue has more than 70 grain elevators east of the Mississippi River and used Michigan and Ohio soybeans for the USDA purchase.

In 2011, the project assisted 891 Afghan farmers, including 91 women, in producing the country’s first commercial crop of soybeans on a total of approximately 450 acres. In 2012, 3,325 Afghan farmers, including 300 women, are planting soybeans.