Factors affecting soybean productivity among smallholder farmers in West Nile Sub-County Region. The Case Study of Paidha Sub-County, Zombo District.
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Agricultural productivity remains a serious challenge in Uganda yet agriculture is among the main driving forces for economic development in the country influencing the largest proportion of the country’s export. Soybean is among the major oil seed crops grown in Uganda, it is the largest source of vegetable edible oil and its oil is 80% unsaturated and cholesterol free. Despite its importance and the various initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, (MAAIF), through the Vegetable Oil seed Development Project Phase2 (VODP2), to increase oil seed productivity in Uganda, the volume of soybean produced in West Nile sub-region continues to remain low and it was on this basis that this study was conducted The main objective of the study was to assess the factors affecting soybean productivity among smallholder farmers in Paidha sub-county. The other objectives were; (i) to assess the agronomic practices that are being used by farmers of soybean,(ii) to assess the factors that influence productivity levels of soybean and, (iii) to identify, characterize and rank the challenges faced by soybean growers in Paidha sub-county. The study was conducted in two parishes, that is Otheko parish and Chana parish from which two villages were randomly selected from each parish that is; Arisi and Jupangali upper from Otheko parish and Jupumochu and Olyeko from Chana parish respectively. Survey questionnaires and direct observations were used to collect primary data and a total of 80 randomly selected respondents were interviewed, 20 from each village. The study found out that most soybean farmers (75%) preferred second season for soybean production, 61.25% used hand hoe for ploughing, 90% of them also weeded their soybean field twice. Furthermore, the study also revealed that all the respondents grew improved soybean varieties, inoculant use and fertilizer/ organic manure is low among the farmers with 35% and 6.25% respectively. The factors that influenced productivity of the enterprise were age of the farmers, education in terms of the years spent in school, experience in soybean production and others. Farmers engaged in the soybean enterprise were also faced with a number of challenges the major ones being the high input prices and low soybean prices with 82.5% and 76.3% respectively. The study recommends the need to improve on the soybean marketing system, more training to be conducted on soybean agronomic practices among smallholder farmer and also suggested more research to be conducted on the impact of soybean production on the socio-economic welfare of the farmers.