A farmer in Nigeria raises chickens for both eggs and meat.

At a food and beverage company in Singapore, a member of the research and development team works to create new products.

In Malaysia, a feed production specialist ensures the quality and consistency of feed for a variety of farm animals.

A veterinarian in Nepal supports sustainable poultry farming practices for farmers in remote areas.

At a fish hatchery in Egypt, a co-founder continues to improve his farm to supply young fish, called fry, to area fish farmers.

In Columbia, a new manager oversees poultry technical personnel, ensuring quality care for chickens for a major agricultural company.

These individuals have very different roles in very different parts of the world. But they all play integral roles in supplying high-quality, protein-based food in places where the need is expected to grow rapidly.

They all also credit professional development from U.S. Soy through the Soy Excellence Centers for helping them excel in their jobs. The Soy Excellence Center, or SEC, is a program led by the U.S. Soybean Export Council. U.S. Soy products are key ingredients for food and feed across all these sectors.

“Our SEC network provides training for early to mid-career protein professionals in emerging markets,” explains Tori Sorensen, chair of the SEC steering committee as a U.S. Soybean Export Council board member, and marketing director for InstaPro International, a soybean crushing equipment company. “By investing in the people who comprise the future of protein sectors around the world, we become part of the solution for global food security.”

The expertise and experience of these individuals and thousands like them will help solve future food production challenges. They will help set the table for the additional two billion people expected around the world by 2050.1 By then, projections indicate that as many as 84% of people may belong to the middle or upper class.2 History shows economic prosperity leads to rising demand for high-protein foods like chicken, eggs, fish, pork, seafood and soy foods.

“We call our program participants ‘Tomorrow Solvers,’ because they will be solving challenges in local nutrition, food security, sustainability and economic growth for decades to come,” says Sorensen. “Our educational centers help the next generation of protein professionals nourish the world safely and sustainably.”

Soy Excellence Centers Feed Minds to Feed the World

Each SEC is strategically located in the heart of a region experiencing or expecting a middle-class population boom.

“In many of these areas, educational opportunities can be as scarce as proper nutrition,” Sorensen says. “The curated training tracks make real differences for all types of people and their businesses.”

As the training builds local protein experts, it also lays the foundation for Tomorrow Solvers to increase the capacity for their businesses to produce high-quality, sustainable, affordable protein for the growing population.

For example, the population of Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to increase by 942 million by 2050.1 Chidiebere Myke-Obial farms in Nigeria. She owns Muchi Farms and raises chickens both for eggs and meat. She credits training through the SEC in Nigeria for helping her grow and modernize her farm. She improved feeding and animal care practices and created detailed record-keeping to track the entire value chain. She is now providing double the chicken and four times the eggs in an area where animal protein demand is surging, and she believes her farm will continue to nourish her family and customers for years to come.

The SECs offer training courses in aquaculture, feed, food, poultry and pork production and more. The core content provides practical training that Tomorrow Solvers can immediately apply on the job.

JIa Chee Lai participated in courses through the food protein-focused SEC in Singapore. An assistant research and development manager at Super Bean International Pte Ltd., a food and beverage company in Singapore, she applied what she learned directly to her work projects. The training program sparked her creativity for current projects and energized her to do more.

The program also connects Tomorrow Solvers with researchers, advisors and experts from top agricultural universities from around the world, providing unique support to excel at their jobs.

Teoh Huey Lee found the mentorship and guidance she received from SEC instructors invaluable. She participated in sessions through the SEC based in Thailand that focused on animal protein. As a feed production specialist with an engineering background for FFM Pulau Indah Malaysia, she is leading process improvements at her feed mill and sharing her deeper understanding of feed safety protocols.

Projections estimate Asia will add 475 million people by 2050.1 Soy foods and beverages are integral to many Asian cultures, and demand for these products and increased convenience is growing. At the same time, rising incomes translate to demand for pork, poultry and aquaculture in diets. Thanks to this training, Lai and Lee are better prepared to address those needs.

A veterinarian in Nepal, Dr. Sakshyam Pandey is also better prepared to help poultry farmers in his hometown and other remote areas of the country meet growing demands. SEC courses in poultry nutrition and feed formulation augmented his formal training. He believes that additional knowledge has been instrumental in allowing him to share and support sustainable poultry farming practices in Nepal, as he serves as a technical consultant for a poultry company.

“Building on the proven value of these courses and the need in South Aisa, we are launching a new SEC in India, the world’s most populous country,” Sorensen reports. “It will expand our network to six regional learning centers.”

The first SEC was launched in Egypt to serve the Middle East and North Africa, which is expected to grow by 223 million people by 2050.1Shady Hamdy Mohamed Al-Deriny co-founded Ibn Al-Nafis Hatchery to supply diverse types of young hatched fish, or fry, to the regional aquaculture industry. Though he is earning his doctorate degree, he attributes much of his practical knowledge to the more than 20 SEC courses he has attended, which have helped him bridge the gap between theory and practice.

The SECs offer both basic and intermediate courses that incorporate both online and in-person learning. They also offer the opportunity to build connections across companies and countries.

Juliana Vallejo, a poultry line manager for Contegral in Columbia, completed basic-level courses online, where she excelled. She was selected for intermediate-level, in-person training at the SEC in Honduras. She claims that training was a game-changer. The content helped her move into her current position. At the same time, she built her professional network across South America and still keeps in touch with classmates. The population forecast for Latin America anticipates the addition of 91 million people,1 and connections like those Vallejo has built will amplify ability to sustainably meet that food demand.

These connections add to the power of professional training.

“We’ve created online communities that allow our Tomorrow Solvers to stay connected after completing training,” Sorensen says. “These digital communities allow shared experiences to lead to sharing more ideas, allowing participants to continue learning to support career growth.”

Through the SECs, U.S. Soy is on the front lines of addressing the growing demand for sustainable protein. Providing and promoting education in emerging markets empowers Tomorrow Solvers across the protein value chain to successfully meet future food and nutrition security challenges.


1 OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2022-2031, OECD/FAO, 2022.

2 The World in 2050 Report, Oxford University Press, February 23, 2017.