Beans are an important food crop in Kenya. Most farmers plant beans with maize commonly known as mixed farming. Farmers grow beans in Kenya for subsistence and commercial purposes. Bean varieties can be obtained at Kenya Agricultural Research and Livestock Research Organization(KALRO). Common bean varieties in Kenya include Mwitemania, Red Haricot, Old Mwezi Moja, Yellow beans e.t.c.
Successful beans growing starts with a good seed bed preparation. The soil in the garden should be free from weeds. The soil should be moist at the time of planting to enable early seed germination. Seed germination should take place within 7 days after planting. For farmers without modern agricultural equipment, the best time to plant bean seeds is at the start of a rainy season. Improved bean seeds should be given preference. Improved seeds are recommended because they are high-yielding, mature quickly, are tolerant to drought, and are quite marketable. If at all the soil is not fertile enough, the farmer should apply fertilizers to get the best results. Farmers can opt to use organic fertilizers like livestock droppings. Around 30 kilograms of bean seeds should be enough for planting in one acre in case proper spacing guidelines are followed.
Pests and Diseases
Pests that affect beans include stem maggots, caterpillars, bean weevils while one of the diseases includes Angular leaf spot. Pests and diseases can be controlled by applying fungicide as prescribed by an expert. Crop rotation and intercropping is another measure a farmer can control some soil-borne diseases.
Beans need to be weeded 2-3 weeks after germinating. If need be, do a second wedding before beans produce flowers. Care should be taken to avoid damaging shallow roots during the first weeding.
Beans can be harvested between 60 and 78 days depending on the type and the farming practices. Beans should be harvested before they are too dry to minimize wastage. Drying after harvesting should be done on clean mats.
Market for beans
Given that beans are a great source of proteins, Kenyans highly depend on them. Beans market is big both locally and internationally. In Kenya, depending on the quality and type of beans, a 90 kg bag of beans ranges between Ksh 7000 to Ksh 12,000. Beans fetch better prices when it's not a harvesting period. Farmers can also store and sell beans whenever prices go up.
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