Climbing beans can earn double yields for farmers

Kenya Seed Company has come up with double yielding climbing bean seed varieties that can utilise air space to maximise harvests for agropreneurs.

Kakamega Branch Manager Abraham Mukhovi said farmers need only 10 kg for planting to harvest between 1,350kg and 1,800kg from one acre in less than four months.

The breeds are Kenya Mavuno, Kenya Safi and Kenya Tamu.

“The three bean varieties are available in the market at a cost of Sh230.  The ‘sky occupying’ varieties ensure high yields from even the smallest space available,” the manager said at the company’s demonstration plot during the 2016 Agricultural Society of Kenya Show.

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They require staking to support the long, herbaceous stems, which must be properly exposed to sunlight. Multiple flowers sprout along the crop, leading to multiple bean bearing pods, he said.

The beans can grow up to six feet in height.

Bean losses

Farmers growing the ordinary beans harvest between 540 and 720 kilos per acre, making the agribusiness less profitable.

Old varieties take between 100 and 125 days to mature, a period that is shorter by almost a month when compared to ordinary types. By fact that more others use previous harvest beans as planting materials lowers the quantity.

Staking is done just like in tomatoes where poles are placed along the drills and a strong wire runs on top. A farmer needs strings to support the beans reach the wire rails.

The varieties are rich in zinc, calcium, iron, among other nutrients.

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Maximising yields

Most farmers grow beans in the same hole with maize.

Best performance is achieved when the beans are grown on separate fields or lines from maize. This ensures maximum attention is given when required.

At the same time, if the varieties are grown in the same hole with maize, the beans are likely to suppress corn because of the vigorous growth and the climbing characteristic, the Mukhovi said.