How farmers can double their bean yield production

"As Jack slept, the beans germinated in the soil, and by morning a big beanstalk grew in their place. When Jack saw the great beanstalk, he immediately decided to climb..." This is a classic scenario of 'Jack and the Beanstalk' fairy tale. The same is true for Kenya's bean variety that climbs and spreads on sticks producing double the yield of local varieties.

Due to subdivision of land in Kenya, farmers are not able to produce enough beans to feed the 38.6 million people living in Kenya.This is mainly due to shrinking land sizes. This is the reason why high yielding varieties of beans that only need a small area to grow has been developed. These new varieties of beans require support with stakes (sticks) to climb on when they are growing.


The beans can grow up to a height of 3.5 meters. The long stems of this variety of beans enable it to produce more pods as compared to the normal bean varieties (bush bean).   With good management climbing beans can produce up to 4 tonnes per hectare (22 bags per acre). Conventional beans produce between 8 and 12 bags per acre.

Due to their high yielding quality, climbing beans can be grown in densely populated areas where farmers possess small parcels of land. Farming areas around major towns are also appropriate production areas.

Varieties: There are four varieties of climbing beans; three of these varieties have been developed in Kenya. These are Medium Altitude Climber (MAC) 13, 34 and 64. These beans can do well in all areas that have an adequate rainfall of above 1000 mm. But they can do very well in dry areas where irrigation is practised.


Mac 13 is commonly known as Kenya Safi.
Market class: Speckled Sugar
Grain colour: Sugar white
Grain size: Large
Growth Habit: Climber type IV
Duration to maturity (days): 80-85
Optimal production altitude (above sea level): 1000 - 2100m



Mac 34 is commonly known as Kenya Tamu.
Market class: Red Mottled
Grain colour: Red Mottled
Grain size: Large
Growth Habit: Climber type IV
Duration to maturity (days): 90-105
Optimal production altitude (above sea level): 1000 - 2100m




Mac 64 is commonly known as Kenya Mavuno
Market class: Red Mottled
Grain colour: Red Mottled
Grain size: Large
Growth Habit: Climber type IV
Duration to maturity (days): 90-105
Optimal production altitude (above sea level): 1000 - 2100m



Other New Bean Varieties, (not necessarily climbers) released in 2008 include:


M18 is commonly known as Kenya Red Kidney
Market class: Red Kidney
Grain colour: Dull Red
Grain size: Large
Growth Habit: Bush type II
Duration to maturity (days): 86-90
Optimal production altitude (above sea level): 1000 - 2100m


E7 is commonly known as Kenya Sugar Bean
Market class: Speckled Sugar
Grain colour: Sugar Red
Grain size: Large
Growth Habit: Bush type I
Duration to maturity (days): 80-85
Optimal production altitude (above sea level): 1000 - 1900m


AFR 708 is commonly known as Kenya Umoja
Market class: Red Mottled
Grain colour: Red Mottled
Grain size: Large
Growth Habit: Bush type IIa
Duration to maturity (days): 80-85
Optimal production altitude (above sea level): 1000 - 1900m


L 41 is commonly known as Kenya Wonder
Market class: Red Kidney
Grain colour: Dull Kidney
Grain size: Large
Growth Habit: Bush type II
Duration to maturity (days): 90-105
Optimal production altitude (above sea level): 1300 - 2000m


E2 is commonly known as Miezi Mbili
Market class: Speckled sugar
Grain colour: Sugar brown
Grain size: Large
Growth Habit: Bush type I
Duration to maturity (days): 80-85
Optimal production altitude (above sea level): 1000 - 2000m




E8 is commonly known as New Rosecoco
Market class: Red Mottled
Grain colour: Red Mottled (calima)
Grain size: Large
Growth Habit: Bush type II
Duration to maturity (days): 80-85
Optimal production altitude (above sea level): 1100 - 2000m




M22 is commonly known as Super Rosecoco
Market class: Red Mottled
Grain colour: Red Mottled (calima)
Grain size: Large
Growth Habit: Bush type II
Duration to maturity (days): 86-90
Optimal production altitude (above sea level): 1000 - 2100m




L36 is commonly known as Kabete Super
Market class: Red Kidney
Grain colour: Red
Grain size: Large
Growth Habit: Bush type II
Duration to maturity (days): 90-105
Optimal production altitude (above sea level): 1300 - 2000m




E4 is commonly known as Kenya Early
Market class: Speckled Sugar
Grain colour: Sugar red
Grain size: Large
Growth Habit: Bush type II
Duration to maturity (days): 80-85
Optimal production altitude (above sea level): 1100 - 1900m




How to Grow Climbing Beans

Seed: Farmers are advised to use clean seed; preferably those produced by seed companies, research institutions and any certified seed producer. The only problem farmers may face is that currently, climbing beans can only be obtained from informal seed producers.

The quality of the seeds is questionable. To overcome this problem, farmers groups' in various parts of Kenya are being trained on the production of clean seed that can be used by those interested in growing the beans.

Land Preparation: It is important to prepare the land during the dry season to reduce weeds and to ensure the soil is fine. All perennial weeds such as grasses should be uprooted and exposed to sunlight to kill them. Also, incorporate any crop residue back into the soil to build fertility.

Planting: Planting should be done at the onset of the rains.


Spacing: The beans should be planted at the rate of 2 seeds per hole, 75 cm between the rows and 25 - 30 cm from one to the next. one support stick is adequate for 2 bean seedlings which helps to reduce the number of sticks used, other than when one stick is used to support only one seedling.

Fertilizer application: Climbing beans are heavy feeders and require adequate amounts of nutrients. A balanced supply of organic or well composed manure should be applied at planting time. This can be supplemented with organic foliar feed.

Pest Control: Pest control should start early, just after germination. The most common pests are the bean fly, spider mites and aphids.

Disease control: Organic fungicides such as copper oxychloride can be used to control fungal diseases. A mixture of plant extract of African marigold, stinging nettle, garlic, rhubarb can also effectively control fungal diseases.

Weeding: It should be weeded at least twice during the growth cycle.

Why the use of sticks?

The need support while growing because they are very strong climbers. If left unsupported, they will crawl on the ground leading to low yield. They need to be supported to grow upright and produce more grains. support sticks of up to 3.5 meters high are economical for a fair and competitive yield.

Support must be provided within 1- 2 weeks after emergence. In areas where maize is grown and support stakes are not available, farmers are advised to grow the beans in the maize field when the maize is about to mature, mainly around the month of August or September.

The leaves of the maize can be plucked off and any weeds removed before planting. The climbing beans can then be planted at the base of each maize stalk which provides support to the climbing beans. When the maize is harvested, the stalks should be left standing in order to support the beans until they are ready for harvesting.

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous4:16 PM

    In Luhya 'amakanda kalandanga' (Climbing) beans have improved the life of farmers who tried them. Mr Maero afarmer in Munami village of Mumias testifies that he harvested 8 debes fron a plot he harvests 2.5 debes of rose coco.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous11:08 AM

    Where can I get the seeds???

    ReplyDelete
  3. As far as I know, Seeds can be obtained from the University of Nairobi, Kabete Campus OR KARI-EMBU

    ReplyDelete
  4. I work for an NGO in western Kenya and I have not seen this new varieties of seeds. We disseminate bean seeds to local farmers for planting. Why is it I have not heard of this new releases? I know it will be helful to farmers in this locality esp with the onset of rains this April, 2011 (Wilfred, Nangina Social Work Project)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love this information!

    ReplyDelete

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