Sri Lanka: Soya Pioneer in the Third World (1726, 1979-1980s)
(Sri Lanka and the Soybean Development Program)


by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi


A Chapter from the Unpublished Manuscript, History of Soybeans and
Soyfoods, 1100 B.C. to the 1980s

ęCopyright 2004 Soyinfo Center, Lafayette, California

Part 1 | Part 2

A Brief Chronology. Before looking at the activities of the various parts of the Soyabean Development Program, let us take a brief look at important developments from 1973:

1973. Soybean trials start in Sri Lanka. Only 211 acres planted in 1972. original study. Soybean Development Program starts. CARE/Sri Lanka Thriposha program starts.

1975. March. Sri Lanka Soybean Development Program inaugurated.

1976. Thriposha program begins using soy flour from Sri Lankan beans; 53,119 pounds that year.

1978. September. Home level training and demonstration kitchen opens at Soyabean Foods Research Center. Soyanews starts publication. Soya-bean Development now at takeoff stage. November. A cyclone destroys 2,000,000 coconut palms in eastern Sri Lanka. Emergency need for soymilk to replace coconut milk. Decision to open a soymilk plant.

1979. March. Official opening of Soyabean Foods Research Center at CARI at Gannoruwa. June. First Soyafoods Sales Center opened by Lankasoy (Forbes & Walker) in Colombo.

1980. January. Government decides to establish a soyfoods processing plant at Anuradhapura in the heart of soybean country to produce drum-dried soymilk and whole (full-fat) soy flour. May. Commercial production and marketing of Thriposha announced. September. New, large CARE/Ministry of Health?? Thriposha processing complex opens at Kapuwatte, Ja-Ela.

Activities of the Soyabean Development Program. The success of the Sri Lanka program rested on the careful development of a number of basic projects and their careful coordination. The first project was to learn how to grow soybeans in Sri Lanka.

Soybean Production Project. Prior to 1972, except for sporadic variety testing and agronomic research, most of the soybeans in Sri Lanka were grown in small home-garden plots for home use. In 1972 the soybean was re-introduced to farmers, who planted 211 acres. INTSOY variety trials started in January 1973, using varieties from the southern US that looked promising in Sri Lanka. In 1973 soybean planting kits were sent out by the Sri Lanka Department of Agriculture to 10,000 prospective soybean farmers. Work was done to develop an optimum "package of practices" for soybean management. Yield trials during 1973 were encouraging, with US varieties yielding up to 3,600 pounds per acre (4,000 kg/ha) on research plots. It was not difficult to convince enterprising farmers to grow soybeans, which needed only one-third as much irrigation water as a 3-month rice, gave a net income double that of rice, and served as a good rotation crop with rice, enriching the soil. It was essential that the soybean help the growth of an existing crop, rather than replace it. The production project worked to develop dependable and available supplies of high-yielding seeds, information about cropping techniques, extension services to work with farmers and their problems, and marketing outlets so that farmers would have a place to sell their crops. The introduction of multi-strain commercial inocula was of major significance in increasing yields. The country is fortunate to have a bimodal rainfall pattern and two growing seasons. The yala season (April-Sept.) was the drier season; when soybeans were grown in paddy fields and irrigated, they gave farmer yields as high as 2,200 to 2,500 lb per acre (2,470 to 2,805 kg/ha). The maha season (Oct.-Feb.), when crops were rainfed gave slightly lower yields, depending on the rainfall distribution pattern, ranging from 750 to 1,500 pounds per acre. Moreover, many nationwide varietal tests showed that soybeans had a particularly high potential in the country's Dry Zone, as in the Anuradhapura district. Yield tests during 1973, with soybeans producing an average of 1,200 pounds per acre on farms, showed that protein production per acre from soybeans far exceeded that of any other legume or cereal grain; soybeans were followed by groundnuts/peanuts, and then cowpeas. In calorie production per acre, soybeans ranked fourth behind groundnuts, rice, and sorghum.

By 1978 the total soybean acreage in Sri Lanka had risen to about 4,700 acres (one estimate said 6,000 acres); 86% of this was planted in the maha season and the remaining 14% in the yala. Farm yields averaged a little more than 1,000 pounds per acre, with a high of 2,178 pounds. Experimental trials attained 3,600 pounds per acre. The United States average that year was 1,603 pounds per acre. In 1978 Sri Lanka's major pulses, in descending order of total acreage, were cowpeas (black-eyed peas, 50,000 acres), black gram, peanut, green gram (mung bean), and soybeans (4,700 acres). In November 1979 the government set a floor support price for soybeans of Rs. 2.0 per pound. The main bottleneck or restraint limiting acreage expansion in 1980 was the lack of demand for foods (including oil) and feeds made from soybeans, and lack of sufficient production incentives, which discouraged farmers from planting more acres. In 1980 total acreage dropped to about 2,000 acres. In

1981 however there was a strong upturn in demand from CARE/Thriposha and from the poultry industry experiencing high costs of imported fish meal. The Paddy Marketing Board, which had a forward contract with CARE, offered a support price of Rs. 3.2 per pound.

Soyanews. In September 1978 Soyanews, an 8-page monthly newsletter, started publication in Colombo (P.O. Box 1024). Conceived, funded, and published entirely by CARE, it was started by CARE's John T. McLeod, aided by guidelines suggested by INTSOY's Sheldon Williams. Sinhalese and English editions were distributed free to "everyone interested in promoting soyabeans and improving nutrition in Sri Lanka," it was packed with information on soybean cultivation, marketing, processing, and utilization. Typical issues contained a front-page feature story, numerous letters from readers with appropriate responses, instructions for making soyfoods on a home or village scale (using local utensils) and popular recipes for serving them, plus special features on basic nutrition, commercial soyfoods processing, names of soyfoods retailers, farming, world hunger, etc., all with lots of great illustrations and photographs. The enthusiasm and charm, care and creativity with which Soyanews was published made it one of our personal favorite publications and a major source of information for this chapter. In October 1979 a Tamil edition was started. Circulation that month totalled 14,850, with 7,500 in Sinhalese, 2,500 in Tamil, and 4,850 in English. By May 1981 circulation had skyrocketed to 25,420, with 15,300 in Sinhalese, 4,320 in Tamil, and 5,800 in English. Of these 52 copies were sent to India to spark the growing soyfoods movement there, and 330 to other foreign countries, including the USA.

The Soyabean Foods Research Center. After the soybean production project was well underway, and after a great deal of consideration and input from various individuals on food uses of soybeans in Sri Lanka, work on a soyfoods research center was started. CARE and UNICEF provided considerable impetus for the utilization project by allocating up to $454,000 for constructing and equipping a food processing pilot plant and training facility. By December 1978 $180,000 in soyfoods processing equipment had been ordered, mostly from America. Eventually just over $300,000 was spent on equipment for the pilot plant and home level training program. The Government of Sri Lanka provided land, a building, and local staffing. The building that was resurrected into the new Soyabean Center was an abandoned cocoa processing plant located at Gannoruwa, Peradeniya, near Kandy, conveniently close to the Sri Lanka Department of Agriculture's Central Agricultural Research Institute; the proximity aided government coordination between soybean production and soyfoods processing. Professor A.I. Nelson, Dr. Hittle, and Dr. Herath did much of the original negotiations with CARE/UNICEF for providing equipment and supplies for the Center. During six short stays in Sri Lanka (starting in May, 1975), Nelson worked with Herath, Hittle, and Mr. Wilmot Wijeratne (the latter was in charge of the Center) to develop the basic concept, do a plant layout, and order the necessary equipment, mostly from America. Dr. James Spata spent 2 years in Sri Lanka from July 1977 helping to order and set up the equipment and start soyfoods product development. (He was replaced in summer 1979 by consultant Mike Chan from America, who was later replaced by Dr. Surjan Singh from India.) Most of the processes were based on those using whole soybeans developed at the University of Illinois Department of Food Science. The Center was officially opened on 24 March 1979, although it had been active for 6 months before that training volunteers in soyfoods cookery, perfecting local recipes for housewives, developing and processing commercial soyfoods using the new equipment, and advising commercial entrepreneurs interested in marketing soyfoods. At the gala opening, the prestigious national Minister of Agricultural Development and Research, Mr. E.L. Senanayake, presided. He, his wife, and many local dignitaries and trainees were shown in Soyanews enjoying a "glass of refreshing soya milk" under a large sign that read "Soya Milk Bar." Mrs. Senanayake was photographed using a hand-turned stone mill to dehull soybeans at the home level training kitchen. Everyone had a good time and apparently enjoyed the new foods and drinks.

Within the new Center were a number of programs designed to implement the basic goal of research and development on three levels: home, village, and commercial.

Home Level Training and Cookery Demonstrating Program. Most developing countries working to introduce soyfoods to their people have made little or no effort to take the foods directly to the people, and let the people, having discovered them, aid in their popularization. Rather they have taken what they believe is the quick and easy approach of getting the food industry to put soy in disguised forms into traditional foods. This approach, which has generally not worked very well, is based on a lack of faith in the people's ability to appreciate a good thing when they see it, and a failure to use the people's creative talents to develop new uses and recipes that they themselves like. Hence the so-called International Soyfoods Conferences have been attended almost entirely by food scientists and members of large food processing corporations; the local people have not been included or interested. As in America with the Soycrafters/Soyfoods movement, Sri Lanka has taken an approach that includes both commercial businesses and the local people. In both countries, there has been a clear commitment to developing small- and middle-level appropriate technology, which can be understood, used, and often built by local people. In both countries people, upon discovering soyfoods, have liked them, and actively worked to share them with others.

The Home Level Training and Cookery Demonstration Program was started in September 1978. It was conducted in a building adjacent to the Pilot Plant housing five separate cooking units or kitchens, using only typical rural home implements, and completed in July 1978. The program was established by Miss S. Kanthamani, an INTSOY soyfoods specialist from India who had done graduate work in low-technology soyfoods production at the University of Illinois and had written a book entitled Tasty Recipes from Soybean (1970). She was joined in 1978 by Miss Ellen Jayawardene, a former lecturer in nutrition, food preparations, and cookery at the Girl's Practical Farm School at Walpita. Four basic types of programs were offered: a 1-week or a 2-week training program in home-level soyfoods preparation, and 2-day or 3-day courses and demonstrations in soyfoods cookery.

The objectives of the program were to develop processes, equipment, and recipes that would allow soyfoods to be made and served in typical Sri Lankan homes, to train volunteers and community leaders in the arts of home and village level soyfood production and preparation, so that they, in turn, could return to their homes and teach others, and to demonstrate soyfoods preparation and cookery to interested housewives and cooks. All classes and programs were given free of charge. Using real imagination, the teachers, with the help of their students, developed ways of using the traditional Sri Lankan hand-turned stone mill (karakkan gala) to dehull soybeans and make soymilk. They created a new and simpler way (for them) of making tofu by pounding the soaked beans in a mortar, curding the soymilk with lime juice, and forming the tofu in a sieve or folded cloth, without use of a forming box. They also developed many tasty soyfoods recipes, for example using soymilk and tofu in curries, using okara to replace some of the grated coconut in coconut sambols or rotis, adding soy flour to hoppers (pancakes) and stringhoppers (noodles), sweets, pittu (steamed cakes of flour and coconut served for breakfast), etc. A simple method for boiling soybeans with a little baking soda was demonstrated, which greatly reduced the cooking time. Most of the first foods introduced were nonfermented, but starting in January 1981 they began to discover the many wonders of tempeh, which was compared in flavor and texture to their traditional dried fish (karawala). Soyanews published many articles on tempeh and the editor wrote us saying, "Tempeh is delightful and is, I think, the soya product closest to Sri Lankan tastes." The type of research done by the Home Level Training Program is essential to introduce soyfoods into new countries. Unfortunately its value goes largely unrecognized by professional food technologists and home economists with their degrees from Western universities and by their prestigious journals. Yet it requires just as much skill as other types of food research, perhaps more, for lack of help from published articles on the subject, except in journals like Soyfoods.

Many types of people attended the training programs, but the most common were groups of about 20 women, as from rural development centers, women's training centers, Buddhist associations, young farmers' clubs, YWCA, a family planning association, a nutrition education project, and Sarvodaya. Sarvodaya is a word composed of the Sanskrit roots sarva (all) and udaya (awakening), thought to have been coined by Mahatma Gandhi and his great disciple Vinoba Bhave, who founded the Sarvodaya movement in India. In Sri Lanka, Sarvodaya is predominantly a youth organization whose motto is to "go from village to village serving everybody." They get funds from the government, public contributions, and many foreign countries that recognize the value of their work. In Sri Lanka, many foreigners work with Sarvodaya. They quickly recognized the potential of soyfoods in helping to serve the people, especially in the less developed areas where they concentrated their efforts. They began to serve soyfoods at their day-care centers. In October 1980 two graduates of the program and members of the Sarvodaya Center in Teldeniya, seeking to find a better way to introduce soyfoods to others, set up their own soyfoods cookery training center in conjunction with their Sarvodaya center, thus becoming the first privately run offshoot of the parent center at Gannoruwa. By June 1981 soybeans were the number one crop at the 600-acre Sarvodaya farm at Tanamalwila. The next season they planned to plant over 100 acres. They used some of these soybeans to make soy coffee.

By 1980 the Home Level Training Program was booked up 7 months in advance. As of December 1980 over 5,000 people had attended soyfoods cookery demonstrations and about 1,000 had undergone short term training courses in home level soyfoods processing. To handle the growing number of students, in March 1980, a second Home Level Training and Demonstration Kitchen was completed. The two kitchens, outfitted with 13 cooking units, could then accommodate 30 trainees at a time. A mobile van was being used to hold demonstrations at various locations and additional home level training units were being planned for strategic locations throughout the island. Project personnel worked closely with the Farm Women's Agricultural Extension Programs of the Sri Lanka Department of Agriculture. Forty soyfoods recipes, containing 25-50% whole soybeans, soy flour, or soymilk, had been developed by the kitchen staff (INTSOY Newsletter, May 1981).

After returning home, trainees generally gave soyfoods cooking demonstrations in their neighborhoods and villages. A field survey conducted in late 1980 of graduates of the training program showed that 85% had given soyfoods demonstrations after graduation. In the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka, where soybeans are most widely grown and sold, each trainee had given an average of 13.6 soyfoods demonstrations since graduation. This had created a high level of soyfoods awareness among the people. To enhance the effectiveness of the training program outside teachers were brought in (Dr. Thio Goan Loo came from the Netherlands from April to June of 1979), and the program's instructresses were sent abroad to study (three attended the INTSOY short course in soyfoods processing at the University of Illinois). The program also had its own outreach activities, for example setting up soyfood sales centers at fairs to introduce soyfoods and raise funds. At the August 1981 Esala Fair at Kandy they had sold soya karawala (sun-dried tempeh), tempeh starter, soymilk (liquid and dried), soymilk ice cream, split soybeans, etc. The previous year sales from the soya stall had netted Rs. 11,000 (about $1,000). The products sold included whole (full-fat) soy flour, soymilk (liquid and dried), weaning foods, whole and split soybeans, tofu, soy ice cream and yogurt, soy oil, and snack foods.

Pilot Plant for Soyfoods Development. A second important part of the Soyabean Foods Research Center, this pilot plant serves as a place to develop and test new foods suited to the Sri Lankan market, and to show interested entrepreneurs how to produce such foods on a commercial level. The first soyfoods to get careful scrutiny was soymilk, made by the University of Illinois whole-bean method. In August 1978 at the 2-week Kandy Esala Agricultural Exhibition 30,000-40,000 four-ounce cups of fresh homogenized soymilk were sold by the National Milk Board for 25 cents a cup. By July 1979 over 7,000 bottles of soymilk had been produced at the pilot plant for research and test marketing. On United Nations Day, in October 1979, samples of both chocolate and pineapple flavored soymilk were served to 1,500 visitors at the famous Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall in Colombo. Then in November 1979, 5,000 children each enjoyed a cup of pineapple-flavored soymilk at a YMCA-YWCA Food and Fun day at Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium in Colombo. In December the pilot plant started selling whole (full-fat) soy flour to two bakeries in Colombo, where it was used to prepare bread fortified with 2% soy flour; this was

distributed to hospitals in Colombo and widely accepted. In May 1981 the pilot plant was also producing a fortified infant weaning food from whole soy flour, rice, and mung beans that retailed for about 27% the cost of imported weaning foods; sales of drum-dried soymilk and whole soy flour averaged 4,550 kg per month.

Research was proceeding on ??tofu, tempeh, weaning food, soy oil??, soymilk ice cream, and soy yogurt. Most of these products were based on concepts developed at the University of Illinois. The main equipment used to produce these products was relatively large scale, expensive, modern imported American equipment, although there was some small-scale equipment for production of tofu and soymilk. (Perhaps the addition of a typical set of equipment such as that used throughout East Asia in thousands of small tofu shops and soy dairies, often locally fabricated, would lend the program a more meaningful village-level or intermediate processing component.)

In July 1980 the Center held an open house intended primarily for those interested in commercial food production. It was attended by over 100 representatives from both the public and private sectors, from many parts of the island. The demonstration of village level tofu making was reported to have been particularly popular. Cost sheets provided by the Center showed that with an initial outlay of only about Rs. 4,000 ($200) it was possible to generate a daily net income of Rs. 65, producing about 44 pounds of tofu a day. (Tofu was made daily at the Center.) Costs sheets were also provided for making weaning foods, soymilk, soya rolls, cutlets, and patties.

Role of the Sri Lankan Government and Thriposha. The support of the Sri Lankan government and high government officials has played a key role in the growth of interest in soyfoods in Sri Lanka. They have demonstrated a strong commitment to having soyfoods used directly to improve the nutrition of the people, and especially of those most in need. Minister of Agricultural Development and Research, Mr. E. L. Senanayake offered leadership and support for the program at every phase, initiating and developing programs, presiding at key events, and generally adding the dignity of his office.

By 1980 the single largest consumer of soybeans for food use in Sri Lanka was the Thriposha program, which had been established in 1973 by Sri Lanka's Ministry of Health and CARE in response to the medical survey mentioned earlier. This survey showed that nearly half of the population was undernourished, and that those most severely affected were children. Thriposha (the term means "nourishment from three sources," namely corn, soy, and milk, in that order of predominance). The first Thriposha in 1973 was an imported Wheat-Soy Blend (WSB) donated?? by CARE. In 1974 local cereal grains were first incorporated. Then in 19?? the wheat was replaced by corn. In 1975 CARE and USAID, with technical assistance from Colorado State University, donated and installed a low-cost extrusion cooker system (see Chapter 29) to process more locally grown corn and soybeans. The local 70:30 blend of corn and soybeans was mixed with imported Instant Corn-Soy-Milk (ICSM) and packaged. The Thriposha program started using soy flour made from locally grown soybeans in 1976, when it bought 24 tonnes. Use of the soy flour increased rapidly to 72.6 tonnes in 1977, to 218 tonnes in 1978, to 800 tonnes in 1979, to 1,152 tonnes in 1980. Projected usage for 1988, when imports were scheduled to be stopped, was 3,233 tonnes.

In 1980 Thriposha was being provided, free of cost, to some 600,000 medically selected, nutritionally at-risk infants, children, and pregnant or nursing women nationwide; 25-30% of total production was being made from locally grown corn and soybeans, with the remainder still being imported. In July 1980 Thriposha, which now had the image of a nutritious, low-cost food, began to be test marketed at food stores in selected towns, in 1-pound (454-gm) packages, mainly for use as a weaning food. Lever Bros, Inc. aided in marketing product. It was reported to be selling well.

In September 1980 the Thriposha operation moved into a modern new complex at Kapuwatte, Ja-Ela, which was dedicated by the Prime Minister. The 7-acre site, housing the largest low-cost extrusion cooker operation in the world in three buildings, employed 160 people.

Soybeans were also used in other food products by the public sector. By 1979 over 6,000,000 soy fortified biscuits (like US crackers, made with wheat-soy blend [WSB] and nonfat dry milk imported from the US under the Food for Peace Program) were produced daily by two commercial biscuit companies and served each morning to 1.3 million school children. CARE provided the soy-fortified flour for the biscuits.

A plant to produce 1,800 kg a day of drum-dried soymilk was scheduled to be built in Anuradhapura. Part of the long range plan of the soybean program was the eventual and increasing use of soybeans for oil, with the meal to be used for human foods. By late 1980 the government-run Oil and Fats Corporation was using small amounts of soybeans for this purpose. At that time, the Corporation's solvent extraction capacity was limited. However, they were constructing a 50-ton/day solvent plant which would produce food-grade soy oil and meal, and which was expected to require roughly 5,500 tonnes of soybeans a year when it started operation in late 1981.

In each of the above programs the Government of Sri Lanka played a key role in aiding the growth of the soybean and soyfoods industries.

Commercial Production of Soyfoods. Perhaps the easiest way to introduce soyfoods to a new culture is to show people that they can earn a living producing these foods. Producers inevitably become educators, each teaching people in his market area. The first private company in Sri Lanka to take a serious interest in soyfoods was the well-known Colombo brokerage firm, Forbes and Walker. Popularizing soyfoods in Sri Lanka was a "pet project" of the genial chairman of the company, Mr. R.S. "Siri" Wijeyesekera. In July 1979 his firm, operating under the name Lankasoy, opened the nation's first soyfoods sales center at 515 Darley Road, Colombo. Soyfoods on sale included: Instant Soya Dhal; Soya Noodles, Filler, Flakes, Flour, Mixture, Murukku (a fried snack food), Chutney, and Chili Sauce; and Devilled Soya Nuts. By September chilled soymilk, and soya cutlets, rolls, and cake had been added. Mr. Wijeyesekera noted that his company had become the first major producer and seller of soyfoods in Sri Lanka "not primarily for profit, but to serve the public with an inexpensive and nutritious food." Feasibility studies were reported to be underway for soya-enriched biscuits, soy-based vegetarian meats and sausage fillers, soymilk ice cream, instant soy dhal, and whole soy flour. At about this same time Sri Lanka's first commercial tofu shop was opened by U.N. Ganusekara and Sons, with the help of Mrs. Gai Kim, in Colombo. A small but neat operation, they also make and sell soy slurry for use as a coconut replacer in Colombo hospitals. In June 1981 Soyanews did an article on how to start a tofu shop in Sri Lanka. Dr. Carl Hittle, INTSOY program director, felt that, if properly marketed, tofu has "tremendous possibilities for Sri Lanka." In 1980 the "hottest" soyfood in Sri Lanka was "soyameat" (TVP, extruded soy flour). By November of that year three companies were selling more than a ton a day, and all of it had to be imported (mainly from Mysore Snack Foods in India and Archer Daniels Midland in the USA) since Sri Lanka did not yet have the combination of solvent extracted soybean meal and an appropriate extrusion cooker necessary to produce it domestically. Lankasoy was the first company to market TVP in Sri Lanka. The soyameat caught on quickly since it was easy to prepare, low in cost, and was a good source of protein in vegetarian diets. Consumers were mostly from the lower and middle income groups. In December an individual who had attended the home-level training course at the Soyabean Foods Research Center started producing and selling soynuts and Murukku in and around Kandy. The first use of soy flour in a regular commercial bread was in June 1981 when the Regal bakery in the Fort, Matara, began to make and sell a bread fortified with 3% soy flour, and also cakes, buns, and biscuits fortified with 3-10%. These were reported to stay fresh and softer longer. By August 1981 the Matara bakery was baking over 1,000 soy fortified loaves.

Institutional Use of Soyfoods. By 1981 the Colombo General Hospital was using fresh soy puree in place of both coconut milk and grated coconut in the preparation of curries; these were well received by the patients. In February 1981 the Soyabean Foods Research Center began supplying powdered soymilk to two hospitals in Kandy, which used it in making curries. Patients reported they could not tell the difference from coconut milk. A 250-gram packet of powdered soymilk gave as much milk as five coconuts. The Research Center's pilot plant reportedly could not keep up with the demand from institutions for its soymilk.

Ongoing Training Abroad. In the early days of the program there were very few Sri Lankans at training programs in India, Hawaii, Illinois, and Thailand. By mid-1981 members of the Sri Lanka Soybean Development Program had received 213 person-months of training in the form of short courses, study tours, conferences, and degree training; of this, 28% was regional and 72% international. Twenty people attended University of Illinois short courses; six completed the 5-week course in Soybean Processing for Food Uses and 14 graduated from the 16-week Technical and Economic Aspects of Soybean Production. Increasingly Sri Lankans were able to take over positions of leadership and responsibility from their expatriate counterparts.

Future prospects for Soybeans and Soyfoods. An INTSOY Newsletter of May 1981 in an update on the Sri Lanka program concluded: "The future of soybean production in Sri Lanka depends on the acceptance of soyfoods in the diet. Prospects for the future are bright." INTSOY's term in Sri Lanka ended in June and FAO stopped involvement in December 1981??, with hopes that the program would be self sustaining.

The areas with greatest potential for expanding utilization of soybeans would seem to be (1) in the solvent extraction plant due to start operation in late 1981; this will produce soy oil and defatted soybean meal, but will also process other oilseeds, such as coconut; (2) in dried soymilk, made from whole soy flour scheduled to be produced in a plant now under development, for use both as a healthful, low-cost alternate to cow's milk and as a partial replacer for coconut milk in cooking; (3) in Thriposha, as that program becomes self sufficient by phasing out imported ingredients; (4) in fortification of the nation's flour and baked goods. The Sri Lanka Prima flour mill in Colombo, constructed with largely?? foreign capital, began operation in 1981?? Having a capacity of 400,000 tonnes (metric tons), it was milling, bagging, and distributing only wheat flour. It would be ideal for soybean interests if, before bagging, the wheat flour were blended with 5-10% whole soy flour. This would greatly increase the protein content and nutritive value of all baked goods and would save considerable foreign exchange being used to import the wheat. However, for complex reasons, Prima did not want fortification, which would reduce the wheat bran exported for livestock feed; (5) in TVP made from the new solvent extracted meal; (6) in small-scale, decentralized, privately owned soyfoods business producing tofu, tempeh, soymilk, soynuts, soy sprouts, etc. similar to those that have long existed throughout East Asia and have recently grown up in the US; (7) and in mixed poultry feeds; there is some fear that the poultry and livestock industry might absorb all of the soybean supply, driving up the prices for food use.

The key to the future of the program now rests in Sri Lankan hands, and depends largely on how wisely and vigorously they pursue its development. One valuable first step would be to create a much-discussed Soybean Authority Board, with wide representation, to make broad policy decisions.

In this brief case study, we have tried to give an anatomy of one program by a developing country that successfully introduced soybeans and soyfoods. In the brief period of only 6-8 years, Sri Lanka has done a tremendous amount with both production and utilization: the basic groundwork has been laid, problems have been defined, appropriate technology is being developed, and many people have been involved and trained. There has been unusually good cooperation at all levels, both among the people of Sri Lanka and with various external international agencies. Given its short duration, Dr. William Thompson, Director of INTSOY, has called it "an extremely successful program."

In addition to careful, creative planning and plenty of hard work, the people of Sri Lanka seem to have also manifested for us all the true spirit of the Buddha's teaching on Right Livelihood and Selfless Service. There are rich lessons in this program and from these people for all who wish to introduce soyfoods into their own cultures and to use them to help all beings.

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