World Soybean Production: Area Harvested, Yield, and Long-Term Projections
Soybeans (Glycine max) serve as one of the most valuable crops in the world, not only as an oil seed crop and feed for livestock and aquaculture, but also as a good source of protein for the human diet and as a biofuel feedstock. The world soybean production increased by 4.6% annually from 1961 to 2007 and reached average annual production of 217.6 million tons in 2005-07. World production of soybeans is predicted to increase by 2.2% annually to 371.3 million tons by 2030 using an exponential smoothing model with a damped trend. Finally, three scenarios and their implications are presented for increasing supply as land availability declines. The scenarios highlight for agribusiness policy makers and managers the urgent need for significant investments in yield improving research. 
The importance of soybean production worldwide
Interest in the impact of agriculture on soil structure or changing soil species makeup has increased. Due to its major position as one of the more important crops, more research into soybean (Glycine max L. (Merr)) management can contribute to better understanding of its production. With respect to the importance of soybean production worldwide, its production must be evaluated from different perspectives including its symbiosis with soil microbes. Soybean is an important source of food, protein, and oil, and hence more research is essential to increase its yield under different conditions, including stress. The most important countries of the world with the highest rate of soybean production include the USA, Brazil, Argentina, China, and India. Many crop species including soybean are found associated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and rhizobia. However, other beneficial rhizospheric microorganisms have also been tested, applied, and used as biofertilizers. Microbial interactions may have important functions in soybean production and health. It is also important to evaluate the abiotic factors which interact with the growth and yield of this crop. This chapter explores the current available information relevant to the benefits of soybean production worldwide. Among the major factors affecting the production of soybean is the appropriate use of inocula. Better knowledge of the wide variation in abiotic/biotic parameters is important for understanding the ecology of the soybean system and for management purposes. Evaluation of soybean production, worldwide, can improve our understanding relative to the effects of different factors affecting the growth and yield of soybean globally. 
Soybean production potential in Africa
Soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr.) could possibly become a major crop in Africa due to its many uses as a food, feed, and in industry. Also, its ability to undertake symbiotic nitrogen fixation is a great advantage over cereal crops. This study simulated yield potential across west and east Africa. A number of areas were excluded from soybean production because of inadequate early season rains to allow timely sowing of the crop. Among the remaining areas, average yields greater than 200 g m−2 were commonly simulated. Two drought traits were examined as plant modifications to increase yields. These results identified those areas and plant traits in Africa where soybean has the potential to be an important, viable crop. 
Constraints to Increasing Soybean Production and Productivity in Benue State, Nigeria
Apart from its industrial uses, soybean is a cheap plant food source that the low-income population in Nigeria depends on for protein and nutrient needs, but there is a decline in its production and productivity. Identifying the production constraints is critical to formulating policies and programmes that would boost soybean output for domestic and industrial utilization. This study was undertaken in twelve villages of Benue State, Nigeria where a random sample of 120 soybean farmers was interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and factor analysis. The findings showed that the average age of the farmers, mean household size and mean soybean farming experience were 43 years, 12 persons and 16 years respectively. Also, the mean farm size was 2.1 hectares with an average annual soybean farm income of 61,758 Nigerian Naira (US$385.99). The study further found that the constraints of marketing, production and linkages hampered the increased production and productivity of soybean in Benue State. In the light of the above, there is need for training and re-training of extension workers to effectively disseminate soybean improved technologies to farmers. In addition, extension agents should provide soybean farmers marketing information, establish viable links between respondents and relevant stakeholders in order to improve access to inputs and modern technologies while the local and state governments establish rural markets with good marketing infrastructure and good rural roads to enable farmers have high returns on soybean investment. 
Economic Efficiency of Soybean Production in Ogo-Oluwa Local Government Area of Oyo State, Nigeria
This study estimated the technical, allocative and economic efficiencies indices and further examined the factors influencing technical efficiency for the sampled soybean farms in Ogo-Oluwa Local Government Area of Oyo State (LGA). The study made use of a cross-sectional data obtained from sampled soybean farmers in the Ogo-Oluwa of Ogbomoso zone of Oyo State Agricultural Development Project (ADP) that were purposively selected because of the higher concentration of soybean farms compared to other LGAs in the zone. Eighty respondents were randomly chosen from a list of soybean farmers obtained from the Apex Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN). Data collected was analysed using the stochastic frontier model. The overall technical efficiency was estimated with no effort of broken it down into pure and scale efficiencies. It was observed from the findings that the range of efficiencies index varies great with minimum of 0.827, 0.135 and 0.128 and maximum of 1.0 for technical allocative and economic efficiencies respectively. The mean efficiency which indicate the average potential there in soybean production in the study area 0.94, 0.892 and 0.839 for technical, allocative and economic efficiency respectively. Of 80 soybean farmers involved in the analysis only one was found to be technically allocatively and economically efficient. The measures of relative allocative and technical efficiency provide evidence as to the source of deviations from overall cost-minimising behaviour. Many sampled soybean farms employed the ‘wrong’ input mix, given input prices, so that, on average, costs were 11 per cent higher than the cost minimizing level. However, farms have the potential to reduce their physical input, on average, by 6 per cent, and still produce the same level of soybean output.
In conclusion, there was a great potential to improve the output of soybean farms and save cost if variable inputs were adjusted to the optimal level along the short-run isoquant. Farmer’s age, extension visit and education significantly influence technical, economic and allocative efficiencies respectively. Inefficiency results in large part from allocative rather than from technical inefficiency. 
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