News and knowhow for farmers

Bean prices soar as govt pushes 4x yielders

Climbing beans uganda2 lo

By George Munene

The price Rosecoco beans has risen from Sh8,080 shillings per 90Kg bag from May last year to a current price average of Sh10,100 per 90kg across the country, with a kilogram selling for Sh115.

In an effort to improve their incomes and arrest food insecurity, through the National Agriculture and Rural Inclusive Growth Project, the Ministry of Agriculture is urging small scale farmers to grow improved climbing bean varieties that can harvest up to five times more than regular bush beans.    

“Average per hectare bean production in Kenya lugs at just 1.5 tons (6-8 bags), from the more predominantly planted bush beans. This is up to four times less what farmers can produce growing climbing beans which have a production potential of up five tons for a hectare, ” explains Boaz Owasa, a soil fertility specialist at the Alliance of Bioversity International.

With decreasing yields and overpopulation there is a clear demand for an intensification of food production. Runner beans grow up to four meters high and yield upwards of 100 pods harvestable at least five times over a 60 to 70-day harvest window.

They also have more foliage to bush beans, 17-25 tons of leaves per hectare; this makes them better nitrogen fixers. The leaves are also a great dietary source of vitamins as well as improving soil fertility when they drop and decompose

Climbing beans however need support materials and labour to train them on the supports. They also take longer to mature, 90- 120 days, compared to bush beans which grow in 60 to 90 days.

Rose coco varieties of climbing beans and their yielding potential available at Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI):

MAC 13

  • It is a large kidney-shaped seed
  • Maturity period of 95 days
  • Yield potential of 4-5 tons

MAC 34

  • A large wedge-shaped seed
  • Matures in 105 days
  • Yield potential of 4-5 tons

MAC 64

  • Medium-sized wedge-shaped seed
  • Matures in 120 days
  • Yield potential of 4-5 tons

The beans ought to be planted two seeds per hole with 75 cm x 30 cm spacing between each plant. A handful of ripe manure and DAP, 20:20:0, or 17:17: 17 at a 5g rate (1 teaspoon) should be mixed in thoroughly for each planting hill.

Climbing should be supported on sticks or posts and wire structures at least 3 meters high. This helps provide climbing support for runner beans as well as reduces the incidence of diseases and improves aeration.

KARI: 254-20-4183301-20

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