History of Soybeans and Soyfoods in Central Asia (1876-2008)

William Shurtleff, Akiko Aoyagi

Publication Date: 2008 May

Number of References in Bibliography: 172

Earliest Reference:

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1870 – Kazakhstan: Soybeans are first cultivated. One of the Chinese nationalities, the Dungan (the Russian term for the Hui, China's second largest minority), resettled

from Western China to the boundaries of the Semirechenski oblast', which is inside today’s Kazakhstan.  They brought with them many varieties of soybean, a crop  that was unknown

there at that time. They began to grow soybeans in small quantities. In a

number of places this crop found a new homeland for itself, but only among the Dungans themselves – not among the Russians, Kazakhs, or Kirghiz (Lobanov 1934).


1873 – Transcaucasia: Prof. Friedrich Haberlandt of Vienna collects black soybeans from Transcaucasia at the Transcaucasia exhibit in the Vienna World Exposition. Transcaucasia is a region just south of the Caucasus Mountains roughly equal to that occupied in 2008 by the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The soybeans were almost certainly cultivated in Transcaucasia since they were seen as being important enough to take to the world exposition (Haberlandt 1876, Feb. 26).


1898 – Republic of Georgia: Soybeans are cultivated in the agricultural school at Kutaisi (Wuchino 1901).


1901 – Wuchino, of Georgia,  says that soybeans were first cultivated in Transcaucasia in the 1870s.


1910 March – Soy coffee made by a firm named Argo or Argot is now being made at Sta. Quirili (Kurile), on the railroad from Batoum [probably Batumi] to Tiflis, Republic of Georgia. This is the earliest known commercial soy product made in Central Asia  (Letter from Frank N. Meyer in Tiflis, 15 March 1915).


1911 – Soybeans are cultivated for a second time in the Republic of Georgia. 500 tons are shipped at a price of 1.10 rubles per pood.  This prices is very remunerative to farmers and, judging from the quantity of seed beans retained for planting, the next crop will amount to 16,000 tons. These are the first statistics given on soybean production in Central Asia.  (Heingartner 1911).


1912 – Turkistan / Turkestan: Soybean varieties are introduced to the USA from Chinese Turkestan. They were probably being cultivated there at the time (USDA Bureau of Plant Industry, Inventory No. 28. See #38102-38104).


1918 – Turkey: In a report titled Reconstruction in Turkey, published after World War II, soybeans are recommended for crop rotation and as a soil builder (Hall 1918).


1930 – Armenia: Soybeans are first cultivated (Tedoradze 1963).


1931 – Azerbaijan: Soybeans are first cultivated (Tedoradze 1963).


1967 – Uzbekistan: Soybeans are first cultivated (Ivanov 1973).


1969 – Turkey: Soybeans are first cultivated (Kuznetsova 1972),


1970 – Tajikistan: Soybeans are first cultivated (Karimov 1974).

1990 – Kazakhstan : Harvested 23,000 ha in 1990, 18,000 ha in 1991, and an estimated 19,000 ha in 1992.


1990 – Republic of Georgia: Harvested 8,000 ha in 1990, 6,000 ha in 1991, and an estimated 6,000 ha in 1992.


1900 – Azerbaijan: Harvested 1,000 ha in 1990, 1,000 ha in 1991, and an estimated 1,000F ha in 1992.


1995 – Uzbekistan: Soybeans start to be crushed. Statistics show the following amounts (in 1,000 metric tons) were crushed: 1995/96 = 100. 1996/97 = 100. 1997/98 = 175 (peak). 1998/99 = 120. 1999/2000 = 33. 2000 /2001 = 54. 2001/2002 = 65. 2002/2003 = 70. 2003/2004 = 1. 2004/2005 = 5. 2005/2006 = 6. 2006/2007 = 5. 2007/2008 = 5. These are the first soybeans crushed in Central Asia (USDA Foreign Agricultural Service database)


2006 – Tajikistan: Tofu is now being made and green vegetable soybeans are now being grown and consumed by ethnic Korean immigrants (Ashraf 2006).

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Click here to download the full text to open and read book History of Soybeans and Soyfoods in Central Asia (1876-2008)