Soybean consumption in Indonesia continues to grow, especially in response to the production needs of tofu and tempeh. However, national production has been stagnant for the last 10 years, especially as current average soybean productivity per farmer is still below 1.5 tons/ha. The Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) has partnered with local private seed companies in Indonesia, to promote the release of new soybean varieties with better yield potential than existing ones.
Considering that approximately only one million tons a year of soybeans are being harvested, with imports numbering around 2 million tons a year, introducing new varieties will allow farmers to measure up to the demands of the market. Thus, the SFSA initiative in Indonesia starts with partnering with local seed breeding partners, including Seed-Co, Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) and the World Vegetable Center to develop new soybean varieties with better yield potential. Select varieties must be adapted to the tropics and their expected yield should be higher than the local varieties – target is above 3.5 tons per ha. Furthermore, the selected varieties must be of good quality for the production of tofu and tempeh, according to the product profile. The next phase of the project, is partnering with local seed companies for commercialization. This includes developing seed production capability for local seed producers (in collaboration with national Agricultural Research Center: ILETRI), to ensure that quality seeds are accessible to a wide-range of farmers in Indonesia.
Our initiatives in Indonesia strengthened communal-based soybean seed production, as we facilitated the introduction of two new local varieties to seed farmers and we supported the production of more than 180 tons of soybean seeds annually. In addition, we introduced new methods for the conservation and processing of soybean seeds. For instance, with hermetic plastic, stored soybean seeds shelve life extends to more than 3 months. We also presented the drying method, through the use of a plastic house, to make grains dry easily during the rainy season. Our soybean seed project in Indonesia empowered local seed farmers and ensured that their pressing needs were met with high-yielding quality seeds.