Green Grams (Ndengu) Farming in Kenya

Green Grams Farming in Kenya

Green grams farming is an important agricultural activity in Kenya due to the crop’s high nutritional value and economic importance.

Also known as mung beans or ndengu in Kenya, green grams are a popular legume that is consumed as whole seeds.

Green grams are rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them an essential food crop in Kenya, particularly for people living in poverty who cannot afford to purchase expensive animal protein.

So, if you are interested in green grams farming in Kenya, the first step is to select an appropriate site.

The site should have well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. It should also be easily accessible for transportation and irrigation.

However, avoid areas with waterlogging and excessive sunlight as these conditions may negatively affect the growth and development of the crop.

Once you have selected a suitable site, the next step is to choose high-quality green gram seeds that are resistant to diseases and pests.

These seeds can be obtained from reputable seed companies or agricultural institutions.

Also note that proper seed selection is crucial as it can determine the overall success of your green grams farming venture.

Preparing your land is another important step in green grams farming.

To start, clear the land of any weeds and debris, plow the land, and harrow it to create a fine seedbed.

Now, apply organic manure or fertilizers to the soil to improve soil fertility.

Again you must not that proper land preparation will ensure that the green grams grow optimally and produce high yields.

Green grams farming is an essential agricultural activity in Kenya due to the crop’s nutritional value and economic importance.

Just to summarize:

To start your green grams farming venture, choose a suitable site, select high-quality seeds, and prepare the land correctly. By following these initial steps, you can set yourself up for success in the green grams farming industry.

Investment Cost and Profits to expect

The investment cost for green grams farming in Kenya can vary depending on factors such as land size, seed cost, labor, and fertilizer. On average, it can range from Kshs. 30,000 to Kshs. 100,000 per acre. However, the potential profits are attractive, with farmers able to make up to Kshs. 200,000 per acre if they adopt good farming practices, market their produce effectively, and access markets with favorable prices.

Also Read: Beginner’s Guide to Barley Farming in Kenya

Green Grams (Ndengu) farming in Kenya Seed Selection

The success of any farming venture heavily relies on the quality of the seeds used.

When it comes to green grams (ndengu) farming in Kenya, choosing the right seeds can be a daunting task, especially for beginners.

However, it is crucial to take your time and make the right choice.

Another factor to consider when choosing green gram seeds is the planting season. In Kenya, green gram is typically planted during the short rains (October-November) or the long rains (March-April).

High-quality seeds are essential for achieving high yields, resistance to pests and diseases, and tolerance to harsh weather conditions.

Seed size is also another essential consideration when choosing green gram seeds. Generally, larger seeds produce more robust plants and higher yields.

In Kenya, green gram (ndengu) seeds can be obtained from reputable seed companies, agricultural institutions, or local markets. Companies such Kenya Seed Company will be able to provide you with quality seeds.

It is crucial to ensure that the seeds you buy are certified and have a high germination rate.

Also Read: Beginner’s Guide to Lettuce Farming in Kenya

When selecting green gram seeds, consider the following factors:

  1. Variety: Different varieties of green gram seeds have unique characteristics such as maturity period, yield potential, and resistance to diseases. Choose a variety that is well-suited to your region and farming objectives. Major varieties in Kenya- KS20 (uncle) and N26 (nylon)
  2. Seed Quality: High-quality green gram seeds have a high germination rate and are free from diseases and pests. Inspect the seeds for any signs of discoloration, damage, or mold.
  3. Seed Treatment: Some seed companies offer pre-treated seeds that are coated with fungicides and insecticides. This helps to protect the seeds from pests and diseases during the germination process. Consider purchasing pre-treated seeds to give your crop a head start.
  4. Price: The price of green gram seeds can vary significantly depending on the variety, quality, and location. While it is tempting to go for the cheapest option, it is important to remember that low-quality seeds can result in low yields and losses.

Therefore, seed selection is a critical factor in green grams farming in Kenya.

By choosing high-quality seeds that are well-suited to your region and farming objectives, you can achieve high yields and profitability. Remember to buy certified seeds from reputable sources and ensure that they are free from diseases and pests.

Read Also: Beginner’s Guide to Snake Farming in Kenya

Land Preparation for Green Grams Farming in Kenya

Land preparation is a critical step in green grams farming, as it determines the success of your crop.

Proper land preparation involves clearing the land of weeds and debris, plowing and harrowing to create a fine seedbed, and applying organic manure or fertilizers to improve soil fertility.

Clearing the land of weeds and debris is essential as it reduces competition for nutrients, water, and sunlight.

It also eliminates hiding places for pests and diseases that can damage your crop.

Plowing and harrowing the land loosens the soil, making it easier for the roots of the green gram plant to penetrate and absorb nutrients.

It also helps to create a fine seedbed, which ensures uniform germination and growth of the crop.

Applying organic manure or fertilizers to the soil is crucial as it provides essential nutrients for the green gram plant to grow and produce high yields.

Organic manure improves soil structure, water-holding capacity, and soil aeration. It also adds organic matter to the soil, which is beneficial for soil health and fertility.

Fertilizers, on the other hand, provide essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are essential for plant growth and development.

It is important to note that the type of fertilizer or manure to be used depends on the soil type and the nutrient requirements of the crop. A soil test can help determine the nutrient status of the soil and the type and amount of fertilizer or manure to apply.

Proper land preparation is a critical step in green grams farming in Kenya.

It ensures that the crop grows well, produces high yields, and contributes to food security in the country.

By clearing the land of weeds and debris, plowing and harrowing to create a fine seedbed, and applying organic manure or fertilizers to improve soil fertility, you can achieve great success in green grams farming.

Necessary Conditions

Green grams farming in Kenya requires certain conditions to be met for successful cultivation. These include well-drained soils, warm temperatures between 20 to 30°C, and moderate rainfall of about 600 to 800mm annually.

Additionally, farmers need to use appropriate fertilizers and pest control methods to achieve optimal yields. Proper crop rotation, intercropping, and timely harvesting are also important practices for sustainable green grams farming in Kenya.

Planting

When it comes to green grams farming in Kenya, planting is one of the most important steps. The success of your crop largely depends on the quality of seeds you use and how you plant them.

Again, it’s important to choose high-quality seeds that are resistant to diseases and pests.

This will ensure that your crop grows healthy and strong, and is less likely to be affected by common problems such as powdery mildew, spider mites, or bacterial wilt.

Once you have your seeds, it’s time to prepare your land for planting. Clear the land of any weeds or debris, and plow and harrow it to create a fine seedbed.

This will make it easier for your seeds to take root and grow strong, healthy plants.

When it’s time to plant your seeds, make sure to space them out properly. A spacing of 45cm x 15cm is ideal, as it allows each plant enough room to grow and spread its roots.

Make shallow furrows in the soil and plant the seeds at a depth of 2-3cm, and then water them immediately after planting.

But planting is just the beginning. Once your green grams are in the ground, it’s important to give them the proper care and attention they need to thrive.

This means regular irrigation, pest and disease control, and monitoring for any signs of stress or damage.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your green grams crop grows strong, healthy plants that produce high yields of nutritious and delicious beans.

And whether you’re looking to sell your crop locally or export it to international markets, you’ll be contributing to food security and economic development in Kenya.

Green Grams farming in Kenya Irrigation Methods

Irrigation is a crucial aspect of green grams farming in Kenya. Green grams require regular irrigation to grow and develop properly, especially during the dry season.

Therefore, relying on rainfall alone may not be sufficient to achieve optimal yields. According to a study conducted by the International Journal of Agronomy, irrigation can increase green gram yields by up to 60%.

What are the consequences?

Without proper irrigation, the crop is likely to suffer from stress, leading to stunted growth and reduced yields.

Types of irrigation

Irrigation can be done using different methods, including drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, or furrow irrigation. The choice of irrigation method depends on factors such as the soil type, topography, and water availability.

Drip irrigation is a popular irrigation method for green grams farming in Kenya. This method involves applying water directly to the plant roots using drip lines or emitters. Drip irrigation is efficient in water use as it minimizes water loss due to evaporation or runoff. It also allows for precise control of water application, leading to increased yields and reduced water usage.

Sprinkler irrigation is another irrigation method that can be used for green grams farming in Kenya.

This method involves spraying water onto the crop using sprinklers. Sprinkler irrigation is suitable for areas with sandy soils that do not hold water well.

However, it can be less efficient in water use compared to drip irrigation as it can result in water loss due to evaporation and wind drift.

Furrow irrigation involves making shallow furrows between the crop rows and filling them with water. This method is suitable for areas with heavy clay soils that hold water well. However, it can lead to soil erosion and nutrient leaching, especially on sloping land.

Regardless of the irrigation method used, it is essential to apply water at the right time and in the right amount.

Over-irrigation can lead to waterlogging and root rot, while under-irrigation can lead to water stress and reduced yields.

In conclusion, irrigation is a critical factor to consider when growing green grams in Kenya.

The choice of irrigation method should be based on factors such as soil type, topography, and water availability.

While proper irrigation management can lead to increased yields and profitability for farmers, as well as contribute to food security in the country.

Pest and Disease control

Pest and disease control is an essential aspect of green grams farming in Kenya. Insect pests and diseases can significantly reduce the yield and quality of the crop, leading to financial losses for the farmer. Here are some of the common pests and diseases that affect green grams in Kenya:

  1. Aphids: These are small, soft-bodied insects that suck the sap from the leaves and stems of the plant. They can cause stunted growth, yellowing of leaves, and distorted pods. Aphids can be controlled using insecticides or by introducing natural predators such as ladybirds and lacewings.
  2. Thrips: These are tiny, slender insects that feed on the leaves of the plant, causing them to become distorted and discolored. Thrips can also spread viruses that can affect the quality and yield of the crop. Control measures include the use of insecticides and cultural practices such as crop rotation.
  3. Fusarium wilt: This is a fungal disease that affects the roots of the plant, causing wilting, yellowing, and eventual death. The disease can survive in the soil for several years, making crop rotation essential. Control measures include the use of fungicides, planting resistant varieties, and maintaining good soil health.
  4. Root-knot nematodes: These are microscopic worms that live in the soil and feed on the roots of the plant, causing stunted growth and reduced yields. Crop rotation, soil solarization, and the use of nematode-resistant varieties can help control the spread of the disease.

According to the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), farmers can lose up to 70% of their green gram crop to pests and diseases if proper control measures are not taken. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor the crop regularly and take appropriate control measures to protect the crop from pests and diseases.

Practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control pests

In addition to the above measures, farmers can also practice integrated pest management (IPM) to control pests and diseases. IPM involves the use of a combination of control methods, including cultural practices, biological control, and chemical control, to achieve the desired level of control while minimizing the use of pesticides.

In conclusion, pest and disease control is a critical aspect of green grams farming in Kenya. By implementing appropriate control measures, farmers can protect their crops from pests and diseases, increase yields, and improve their income

Harvesting

Harvesting is a critical stage in green grams farming as it determines the quality and quantity of the final product. Green grams are ready for harvest when the pods turn yellow and dry, and the seeds inside the pods are hard and have a characteristic green color.

This stage usually occurs 90-120 days after planting, depending on the variety and the prevailing weather conditions.

Proper harvesting involves cutting the plants at the base and leaving them to dry in the sun. The drying process takes about 1-2 weeks, depending on the prevailing weather conditions. Once the plants are dry, threshing is done to separate the seeds from the pods.

Harvesting green grams at the right time is crucial as it affects the yield and quality of the final product. Harvesting the crop too early or too late can lead to a reduced yield or poor quality seeds. Therefore, it is important to monitor the crop closely and harvest it at the right time.

Green grams are a high-value crop that can generate significant income for farmers. According to the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), the average yield of green grams in Kenya is 600-800 kg per acre. However, with proper farming practices, it is possible to achieve yields of up to 1200 kg per acre.

Furthermore, green grams have a high demand in local and international markets due to their high nutritional value. They are rich in protein, fiber, and vitamins and are a popular ingredient in many dishes. In Kenya, green grams are used to make dishes such as dengu (mung bean stew) and kachumbari (a salad made with chopped onions, tomatoes, and mung beans).

Hence, harvesting is a critical stage in green grams farming that determines the quality and quantity of the final product.

With proper harvesting techniques and farming practices, it is possible to achieve high yields and generate significant income from green grams farming. Furthermore, the high nutritional value and demand for green grams make them a valuable crop that can contribute to food security and economic development in Kenya.

Marketing

Marketing is a crucial aspect of green grams farming in Kenya. With a growing demand for healthy and nutritious food, there is a significant opportunity for farmers to sell their crop to local and international markets.

Market Demand

Green grams are a popular crop in Kenya due to their high nutritional value and affordability. According to the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), there is a growing demand for green grams both locally and internationally.

Economic Benefits

Green grams are a lucrative crop for farmers as they can fetch high prices in the market. In 2021, the price of a kilogram of green grams ranged from Ksh 70-120 ($0.65-1.10 USD) in the local market, while in the international market, the price ranged from $2-3 USD per kilogram.

Export Potential

Kenya has a significant potential for exporting green grams to international markets such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. These countries have a high demand for green grams due to their use in traditional dishes such as dhal and curry.

Value Addition

Farmers can increase the value of their green grams by processing them into products such as flour, snacks, and beverages. Value addition can increase the profitability of green grams farming and create employment opportunities for the local community.

Market Access

Farmers can access markets through various channels such as local traders, exporters, and cooperatives. Cooperatives offer farmers the advantage of collective marketing, which enables them to negotiate better prices and access finance for their farming activities.

In conclusion, marketing is an essential component of green grams farming in Kenya. With the growing demand for healthy and nutritious food, farmers can tap into the lucrative market and earn a good income. By exploring different marketing channels and value addition opportunities, farmers can increase their profitability and contribute to the growth of the agricultural sector in Kenya