Are you interested in starting a bean farm in Kenya? If so, this is the guide for you. In this article, we will discuss all aspects of beans farming in Kenya, from preparing the land to harvesting the crop. We will also look at the benefits of beans farming and the market potential for this crop. So, whether you are a beginner or an experienced farmer, read on for everything you need to know about beans farming in Kenya.
Benefits and Nutrients of Beans Farming in Kenya
Beans farming in Kenya has a number of benefits for the farmer. For the most obvious one is that beans are a very nutritious crop. They are a good source of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. This makes them an important part of the diet for both adults and children.
Beans also have a number of benefits for the soil. They improve soil fertility by adding nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil. They also help to control weeds and pests, and improve the soil structure.
All these factors make beans an excellent crop for small-scale farmers in Kenya.
Suitable Areas for Growing Beans in Kenya
Kenya has a variety of climatic conditions, which means that there are suitable areas for growing beans throughout the country. The best areas are those with moderate rainfall and fertile soils. Central and Western Kenya are some of the most suitable regions.
Preparing, Growing and Caring for Beans
Now that you know all about beans, it’s time to learn how to prepare, grow and care for them.
You can start by preparing the soil well. Beans like a soil that is rich in organic matter and well-drained. Add some animal manure or compost to the soil before planting to give your beans a good start.
Then, plant your beans in well-drained soil and water them regularly. You can either plant them in rows or clusters, depending on the variety of bean you are growing. Some beans need support while they are growing, so you will need to provide stakes or a trellis for them to grow on.
Finally, make sure to weed your bean plants regularly and feed them with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer once they start flowering. This will help them produce more pods and beans.
Climatic and Soil Conditions for Beans Farming in Kenya
Beans growing in Kenya requires a climatic and soil condition that allows for the plants to thrive. Beans are warm-weather crops, so they require an average temperature of 55°F (13°C), plenty of sun, and a soil pH between 6.0–6.8 to grow healthily. As well as temperature, beans need plenty of water to grow but do not like soggy soil – so make sure you strike a balance between the two.
The soil conditions are just as important as the climatic ones – and beans need loose, well-draining soil that is high in organic matter such as compost or manure. If you know your soil is lacking in organic matter or has drainage issues, you can improve it by adding amendments such as lime or gypsum. Beans can also benefit from an application of fertilizer before planting – but make sure you follow the directions for your specific variety before applying it.
Varieties of Beans for Planting in Kenya
Kenya is home to a wealth of local beans varieties. If you are new to beans farming in Kenya, you may want to try some basic varieties like haricot beans, runner beans and bambara beans. Each variety has its own unique taste, texture and color that you can experiment with and discover the ones that suit your preferences.
If you are looking for something more exotic, there are some heirloom varieties such as the giant kidney-shaped Njee or the small brown Kiika bean. Others include the Kupesi bean with its nutty flavor, the creamy white Mucheri bean and the fiber-rich Castor bean which produces a much sought after cooking oil.
Try planting different varieties of beans to get an idea of what’s available in Kenya. This way, you’ll be able to discover the ones with higher yields, better taste and unique benefits so you can decide which ones best fit your farming goals and climate conditions.
Market Size and Opportunities for Beans Farming in Kenya
Beans farming in Kenya has enormous potential for farmers to make a good income. The market demand for beans is big and local production is only able to meet about 60% of the current demand, making it an attractive option for new farmers.
In addition, beans are one of the most nutrient dense crops grown in Kenya and have a good shelf life, making them an ideal choice for home vegetable gardens and small-scale farms alike. Another major advantage of farming beans is that the different varieties are adapted to different climates, so growing conditions are not as dependent on weather changes as other crops may be.
Due to their relatively short growing season, beans can be planted multiple times throughout the year in most areas and with proper crop rotation, can provide produce more than once a year.
Additionally, yields can increase dramatically if using advanced methods such as intercropping or companion planting.
Therefore, it is an attractive option to Kenyan small scale farmers looking to increase their incomes by taking advantage of the ever-growing global markets.
Cost of starting bean farming in Kenya
Now, let’s talk money. How much does it cost to start up a bean farming business in Kenya? Well, it depends on the scale of your operation.
For a small-scale business, your startup costs may range from Ksh. 5,000 to Ksh. 15,000. These costs cover seedlings and manure or fertilizer purchases, planting pots or bags or plastic trays, labor, and water.
If you plan on growing large-scale operations with multiple acres of land, you may need additional funds to acquire machinery like tractors and other equipment as well as workers for planting and harvesting the beans.
In this case, you should be prepared to spend anywhere between Ksh. 40,000 to Ksh 50,000 for a one acre farm.
You should also budget for maintenance costs for soil fertility management with inputs such as manure and fertilizer which may range from Ksh 500 – 1500 per acre depending on the dose applied and other factors.
How and when to harvest and how to store your beans
When it comes to harvesting your beans, the timing mostly depends on the variety that you’re growing. Bush beans are usually ready to harvest after 50-60 days while pole beans can take up to 70-80 days.
The best way to check if the pods are ripe is to snap one open and have a look at the beans inside.
Once you’ve harvested your beans, you need to store them. The ideal temperature for storing your beans is between 10° -14° C. Beans need to stored in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight for up to six months when kept in airtight containers or bags.
The key here is that you want to keep them away from moisture because any moisture will cause mold and rot.
When it comes to beans farming in Kenya, there are a lot of things to consider. You need to decide what variety of beans to grow, what climate and soil conditions are best, and how to care for them.
There are also a lot of marketing opportunities for beans, so it’s important to know what to expect before you start farming. In short, if you’re interested in beans farming in Kenya, this guide is a great place to start.