To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

September 07, 2008

Kenya seeks increased production of beans

It has become increasingly common for Kenya to import beans as domestic demand overwhelms production.

The country consumes approximately 450,000 tonnes of beans against a local production level of between 150,000 and 200,000 tonnes harvested from about 800,000 hectares. The country imports the deficit mainly from Uganda, Tanzania and Central Africa.

But researchers at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (Kari) and local universities have been coming up with high yield bean varieties that are well adapted to local conditions and effects of land pressure.

“This variety is suited for farmers with little land, but in need of boosting their bean harvest and food security. It is also suited for urban farmers as Kenyans troop to live in tiny plots in towns”, asserted Daniel Anampiu, a senior technician with Kari, at a recent field day at the Embu research station.

As Mr Anampiu puts it, the climbing bean variety MAC 64- developed by Kari is high yielding, producing over four times more than other local varieties. Local varieties include Rose coco, Mwezi Moja and Wairimu. They are also able to adapt well to a variety of climatic conditions, land pressure, diseases and pests. According to farmers, the major insect pests of beans are aphids, cutworms and bean stem maggots. Diseases include bean mosaic viruses, blight, leaf rust, root rots, anthracnose and angular leaf spot.

The beans are staked on poles and can reach a height of six metres and produce one to 1.4 kg of beans per plant. Farmers only need a ‘handful’ of manure and teaspoonful of phosphate fertilizer at planting time, according to Anampiu. A spacing of 75 cm by 30 cm has been found economically viable by researchers at the station.

But a challenge to farmers comes in the form of poles, some as high as six metres. While in some areas, ants would devour the posts. In such cases, Anampiu recommends that farmers may instead use the wire and string combination to hang the twinning beans.

“One iron wire can be supported by locally available strings as it will save farmers overall costs and improve margins just as is done with passion fruits”, he added.

Beyond the seeds harvested at the end of the cycle, the beans also provide green leaves- used as vegetable across the country, fix nitrogen into the soil enriching it, while the dried stems can be used as livestock hay.

“Such beans would be suitable to be grown in our area where land size is diminished as needs rise. A few seeds are sure to produce enough harvest for the family”, said Jane Wanjira, from Siakago in Embu.

Meanwhile, Egerton University —Kenya’s premier agricultural institution — has developed new bean varieties ready for release to farmers. The varieties, ECABOO81 (Ciankui), AFR 708 (Chelang) and Lyamungu-85, are reported to yield three times more than other varieties.

According to lead researcher Prof Ellis Mbaka, the varieties can yield 7.5 to 10 bags per acre under farm trials. This is against the national average bean production of two to 2.5 bags per acre.

Business Daily Africa

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings expo exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture hydroponics ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maiz maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by

Back to TOP