Beans grow in warm, wet parts of the country. These are areas like Thika, Murang‘a, Machakos, parts of Kajiado, Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Western Kenya and Kisumu. The soil has to be well drained and water supply should be adequate.
Step 1: Getting Started
Don‘t invest in French beans until you consult local export agents for mentorship, training and market advice. This is a very important step because these are the institutions that will buy from you and sell the produce at the international market. You will need to talk to them so you can familiarize with the right kinds of crop species, chemicals and packaging methods prior to making an investment. Examples:
1. Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya
2. Homegrown Kenya Limited
3. VegPro Kenya Limited
4. Wamu Enterprises
5. Everest Enterprises
6. Kenya Horticultural Exports Limited (KHE)
Step 2: Find Arable Land and Prepare It
An acre of land typical costs Ksh.5,000 to Ksh.10,000 to lease per year. The best land (ideally) is one that is near an international airport so the export agents can easily access your farm.
Those targeting Nairobi may want to think of areas like Murang‘a, Gatundu, Kirinyaga, Mua Hills, Ngong and Ngoliba. Lease land can also be found in places like Mwea although the soils in those areas tend to be depleted of minerals due to years and years of intensive farming.
Step 3: Find Seeds and Plant
Your export agent will be able to advice you on the best seeds, fertilizers and chemicals to use. Typically, an acre of land requires a 25Kg bag of seeds which costs Ksh.22,000 on average (1 seed per hole). Note that with irrigation French beans can be grown throughout the year.
Land management practices
1. Land should be ploughed and furrowed before planting season
2. Single rows of 30cmx15cm or double rows of 60cmx30cm are recommended
3. You‘ll require about 80 Kgs DAP and 60Kgs of CAN fertilizer per acre. NPK fertilizer may also be used on less fertile land to stimulate crop flowering.
4. Pesticides like ―Confidor and ―Thunder can be used
Step 4: The Harvest
French beans take around 50 days to mature after which you can harvest them over the next 8 weeks. On average an acre piece of land can yield 4 to 6 tonnes of crop. Note that, because these are highly perishable crops, it is important to harvest when there‘s ready market.
How Much To Invest
In order to start a fully-fledged farm (including leasing the farm, ploughing, irrigation, seeds, labour, fertilizer and chemicals) you‘ll need to set aside a budget of at least Ksh.130,000. This cost may actually reduce with successive planting seasons.
How Much To Expect
During the high season (September to March), you can sell a Kilogram of your produce at an average price of Ksh.100. Thus if you harvest 5 tonnes from your acre piece of land over period of 2 months then the returns would amount to Ksh.500,000. The low season in this business lasts between April and August and prices per kilo tend to plummet to Ksh.50 on average.
By Dominique Lao
Content created and supplied by: DominiqueLao (via Opera News )
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