Originally cultivated in China more than 3000 years ago (Hymowitz, 1970), soybean today is
a global commodity, with 170 countries directly taking part – either as importers, exporters or
both – to international trade flows in 2017 (Figure 11). The industrial and the agrarian
revolution not only contributed to reshaping the traditional geography of soybean diffusion,
production and consumption all over the world, but also ignited another fundamental shift for
this crop: from a food staple traditionally grown and consumed in China and Eastern Asia for
thousands of years, by the 20th Century soybean had turned into a versatile and globally
demanded cash crop, with a new production centre based in the USA (Prodöhl, 2019).

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