Supply Chain Improvement of Soybean in Northern Philippines
Soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr.) is a high-protein legume used as animal feed and as an industrial raw material. It is also processed into food products such as soymilk, roasted soya (soy coffee), soy powder, tokwa (tofu) or soybean curd, taho, soy sauce, and bread. In some areas, soybean is being consumed as vegetable (sprouts). Despite its various uses, soybean production in the Philippines is limited. Hence, this study was conducted to assess the supply chain of soybeans in Northern Philippines (Regions 2 and 3) and identify areas for improvement. Following the ACIAR-PCAARRD methodology in conducting a supply chain study, primary data were collected to answer the six key questions: key customers and product requirements; product, information, and payment flow; activities and services along the chain; key players and their roles; critical logistic issues and concerns; and what are the external influences. Soybean processors were identified as the key customers with volume requirements reaching around 100 tons per year. Results show that farmers lack technical knowledge in the production and marketing of soybeans and complained about the lack of market for their produce. On the other hand, processors explained they resort to using imported soybeans because of the low quality or lack of locally produced soybeans. It is therefore recommended that farmers be organized into associations or cooperatives to better avail of government support, from input provision to marketing and processing of soybeans. For farmers who cannot process their soybeans, they should be linked to processors.