Soybean, being an important food commodity on account of its nutritional value and health benefits, is high in protein, low in fat and carbohydrate and contains no cholesterol. Owing to the amino acids composition, the protein of soybean is known as a complete protein. Due to the presence of vegetable protein which is very nutritious and easy to digest, It is considered to be an excellent food for the babies, children, elderly people and pregnant and lactating women. Since it is a rich source of high quality protein at low cost, there is great potential for utilization of soybean and its products for food, feed, pharmaceutical and industrial applications.
The Soybean inherits many health-promoting benefits ranging from antioxidant, anti-obesity, anti-diabetic properties to prevention of osteoporosis and cancers, such as, breast and prostate cancer. Due to the evidence that the consumption of adequate amount of soybean could lower the risk of chronic diseases, such as, cardiovascular disease and cancer, the Soybean-based foods are being preferred more by the people today.
The Soybean can be used to prepare a plethora of different products ranging from soy milk to tofu (soy paneer), soy curd, soy nuts and various bakery based products, etc. The costs of these products are very low and are helpful to combat the malnutrition by the incorporation of the soy-based food products in daily diet.
Entrepreneurship Development Programme:
Keeping the health benefits of Soybean into consideration, the Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) on Soybean processing was started in the Year - 1995 at ICAR-Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering (ICAR-CIAE), Bhopal. The main aim was to develop the enterprise in the area of soybean processing for the livelihood opportunities, employment generation and production of high quality protein products at a low cost. The EDP module on “Soy-based bakery products and Soy snacks” was added in the Year - 2002. The ICAR-CIAE is the only Institute in the country to offer the EDP on Soybean Processing. The participants were also provided with the technical guidance and support for establishing the enterprise and preparing the produce as and when needed.
Until February, 2017, 167 batches (2,524 participants) underwent the EDP, out of which 2,206 persons participated in Soy milk and Soy paneer production and 318 persons in Soy-based bakery products and Soy snacks.
The Maximum number of trainees were from Madhya Pradesh (615) followed by Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi.
Impact of the Entrepreneurship Development Programme:
Initially, an assessment of the impact of the Entrepreneurship Training Programme was carried out through telephonic contacts with the trainees and then, the personal visits of selected production clusters (Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar and West Bengal) across the country. Around 198 Soybean processing units are currently operational. The units are distributed in the different parts of country and includes 17 states, however, the maximum 41 units are located in Punjab followed by Maharashtra (40 units), Uttar Pradesh (23 units), Haryana (21 units), Delhi (15 units) and Madhya Pradesh (14 units). The establishment of units geared up mostly after 2010. Out of total working units, only 36 were established before 2010. More than 166 units have been established after 2010.
There have also been some cases of closure of Soy Processing Units. Around 14% trainees established the enterprise, but closed it at the later stage due to the marketing constraints.
Based on the information collected, the average annual production of Tofu and Soy milk is 2,700 tonnes and 3,400 kilolitres, respectively. The Total protein content in tofu and Soy milk is 14 and 3.5%, respectively.
Soybean is processed by 198 entrepreneurs across the country for making the different products like milk, tofu, flours, nuts, curd, biscuits, Kebab, chap and Halwa, etc. The annual working days of these units are 203, while the labor employment was analyzed to be 4.73/unit. These entrepreneurs are now generating the employment to the tune of 1.90 lakh man-days/annum and providing the monetary benefits of Rs. 5.70 crores to the 936 workers engaged in running 198 soybean processing units.
The annual gross return is Rs. 28.18 lakh/entrepreneur with an annual gross expenditure of Rs. 17.00 lakh/entrepreneur. Thus, the annual net return realized to the extent of Rs. 11.20 lakh/entrepreneur with a BCR of 1.66. The annual gross monetary benefit generated from 198 entrepreneurs is about Rs. 56 crores. 198 units of Soybean processing established across the country are generating employment of more than 1.78 lakh man-days/annum. Now, the total monetary benefit from 198 entrepreneurs is about Rs. 51 crore/ annum.
The Soy food-based Entrepreneurship Development Training Programme organized by the ICAR-Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering since 1995 has enabled the establishment of 198 successful enterprises that are significantly contributing to the nation's economy as well in combating the malnutrition by adding 768 tonnes of edible low cost protein every year. The economic impact due to these enterprises is presently about Rs. 56 crore per annum and is constantly increasing with the popularity of Soy based-food products. The Soy based-food processing industries operating at the cottage to small scale level has been a successful venture in generating the income and employment.
(Source: ICAR-Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Bhopal)