By Prossy Nandudu
Beans are one of the highly consumed crop in the country, because of its demand by almost all sections of the public, these include schools, hospitals, armed forces, homes among others. They are also source of quick income to households, with a kilo going for not less than sh3000.
Consumption of beans in Uganda
Information the ministry of agriculture animal industry and fisheries shows that the annual consumption of beans is estimated at about 58 kg per person per year.
In 2016, beans were planted on 683,120 Hectares, leading to the production of 1,104,770 metric tons. This lead to an increase in export from 157,152 MT (2015/16 to 200,000 metric tons in 2017.
Although beans are highly consumed, their production remains mainly among small holder farmers, who grow beans on small pieces of land usually less than acre, generating on average about 250kgs. And yet the potential yield from an acre stands at between 700 to1500kg per acre, depending on the variety, adds MAAIF.
The system is characterized by low input use especially seed and pesticides with most of the producers using seed from previous harvest.
However, for one to tarp into this market, Godfrey Seruwu, a senior search Officer at Mukono Zonal Agriculture Research and Development Institute (MUZARDI) advised farmers to look out for quality seed from either research stations under NARO or look out for seed companies. The other option is through community seed banks, managed by local seed business groups, added Seruwu.
Some of the local seed businesses are based in Buikwe, Gulu, Lira, Busoga and Teso region, who were trained by the Integrated Seed Sector Development Project (ASSD) and are supervised by the officials from the National Seed certification department of the ministry to ensure quality.