Beans Farming in Kenya
  1. Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) Significance in Kenya:
    • Considered one of the most crucial legumes globally, providing essential nutrients.
    • Second most significant staple food crop in Kenya, following maize.
    • Grown across various regions, with major cultivation in Eastern, Nyanza, Central, Western, and Rift Valley provinces.
  2. Bean Farming Practices:
    • Requires minimal care and enriches soil with nitrogen.
    • Second most vital food crop production after maize.
    • Primary source of affordable protein in Kenya.
    • Average yield of 10 bags per acre depending on the variety.
  3. Regional Distribution:
    • Predominantly practiced in Central, Western, Nyanza, Eastern, and some parts of Western Kenya.
  4. Production Statistics:
    • Kenya produced over 780,000 metric tonnes of beans in 2022.
  5. Challenges Faced:
    • Low soil fertility and moisture stress due to climate change.
    • Lack of comprehensive market information.
    • Inadequate seed dissemination systems.
    • Poor cultural practices affecting yield.
  6. Technological Solutions:
    • Research bodies like Kenya Agricultural Livestock Organization (KARLO) and National Agriculture Research Systems (NARS) have developed technologies.
    • These technologies aim to address challenges and assist farmers in making informed decisions.
  7. Low Adaptation Rate:
    • Despite available technologies, adoption remains low.
    • Mainly attributed to insufficient dissemination of information to farmers.

Beans Farming in Kenya Varieties

Beans Farming in Kenya
  1. Mwitemania Variety:
    • Oldest drought-tolerant variety.
    • Flowers in 30 days with pink and white flowers.
    • Matures in 70-90 days with a yield potential of 5-7 bags/acre.
  2. KATX56:
    • Kidney-shaped beans.
    • Height of around 35 cm.
    • Flowers within 30-35 days.
    • Matures in 60-65 days with a yield potential of 7-10 bags/acre.
    • Tolerant to diseases such as rust, charcoal rot, and mosaic virus.
    • Good cooking qualities.
  3. Katumani {KAT-B1}:
    • Suitable for hot climatic conditions.
    • Flowers in 30 days with light pink flowers.
    • Sweet grain taste.
    • Average yield of 7-9 bags/acre.
  4. Katumani {KAT B9} – Gacuma:
    • Flowers in 30-40 days with light pink flowers.
    • Matures in 60-65 days.
    • More drought-tolerant than KAT-B1.
    • Yield potential of 7-9 bags/acre.
    • Gives an Irish brown color when cooked with maize.
  5. Katumani X-56 {KAT X-56}:
    • Fast-cooking variety.
    • Flowers in 30-35 days with light pink flowers.
    • Matures in 60 days with dark red grains.
    • Average yield of 7-10 bags/acre.
    • Can out-yield KAT B9 and B1 under optimal conditions.
  6. KATX69:
    • Red-mottled beans.
    • Flowers in 30-35 days with white flowers.
    • Matures in 60-65 days.
    • Elliptic kidney shape.
    • Yield potential of 7-10 bags/acre.
    • Tolerant to various diseases such as mosaic virus, charcoal rot, and angular leaf spot.
  7. Miezi Mbili:
    • Bushy variety from Simlaw Seed Company.
    • Pink flowers after 35-46 days.
    • Yield of 6-7 bags with a seed rate of 30kg/acre.
    • Tolerant to diseases such as halo blight, angular leaf spot, floury leaf spot, and anthracnose.
  8. Climbing Beans:
    • Ideal for limited land sizes and irrigation.
    • Good source of green beans, recommended for breastfeeding women.
    • Varieties include Kenya Mavuno and Kenya Tamu.
  9. Kenya Mavuno:
    • White flowers after 40-70 days.
    • Rectangular and elliptic beans.
    • Matures after 110-150 days with a yield potential of 9-14 bags/acre.
    • Seed rate: 30kg/acre.
  10. Kenya Tamu:
    • Flowers after 40-60 days.
    • Matures after 110-135 days with a yield potential of 9-14 bags/acre.
    • Ideal for farmers with small land sizes.

Ecological Requirements

  1. Soil Requirements:
    • Thrives in well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
    • Weed-free soil with optimum pH of 6.5 – 7.5.
    • Growth is hindered in waterlogged soils.
  2. Altitude:
    • Optimum altitude range: 1000-2100 meters above sea level (ASL).
    • Faster growth and maturation in low altitude zones.
  3. Rainfall:
    • Suitable annual rainfall: 800-2000mm, distributed evenly.
    • Irrigation required in case of inadequate rainfall.
    • Excessive rainfall or prolonged dry spells reduce yields.
    • Too much rain during flowering leads to flower abortion and increased disease incidences.
    • Dry weather needed during harvesting.
  4. Temperature:
    • Thrives in temperatures ranging from 15-33 degrees Celsius.
    • Optimal growing temperature: 20-25 degrees Celsius.
    • Relatively high temperatures affect flowering and pod setting.
    • Very sensitive to frost.


Beans Farming in Kenya
  1. Propagation:
    • Propagated by seeds.
    • Recommended to use certified or disease-free seeds.
    • Avoid planting wrinkled, damaged, or diseased seeds.
  2. Planting Time and Conditions:
    • Plant at the onset of the rains for rain-fed production.
    • Delay in sowing may result in crop failure or reduced yield.
  3. Planting Spacing and Depth:
    • Plant seeds at spacing of 4015cm (2 seeds per hill) or 3015cm (1 seed per hill).
    • Plant seeds at a depth of 1-2 inches.
  4. Intercropping:
    • Beans can be intercropped with other crops like maize.
  5. Germination:
    • Seeds typically germinate within 4-7 days, influenced by variety and environmental factors.
  6. Important Note:
    • Avoid planting beans in soil with excessively high nitrogen levels or where green manure crops were previously grown.
    • High nitrogen levels can result in lush foliage but fewer beans.

Beans Farming in Kenya Common Pests and Diseases


  1. Cutworms:
    • Description: Brown or black caterpillars found in soil, cutting stems of younger plants.
    • Management:
      • Dress seeds with SHIELD 600FS at 3 ml/kg.
      • Drench soil with PROFILE 440EC at 3 ml/l.
  2. Bean fly:
    • Description: Larvae tunnel into plant stems, damaging vascular tissue.
    • Management:
      • Dress seeds with SHIELD 600FS at 3 ml/kg.
      • Drench soil with PROFILE 440EC at 3 ml/l.
      • Spray LEXUS 247SC at 8 ml/20l to kill adults.
  3. Red spider mites:
    • Description: Tiny reddish-yellow pests on undersides of leaves, causing yellow stippling and web formation.
    • Management:
      • Spray ALONZE 50EC at 5 ml/20l.
  4. Aphids:
    • Description: Soft-bodied, sap-sucking insects causing leaf curling and sooty mold.
    • Management:
      • Spray LEXUS 247SC at 8 ml/20l.
      • Spray JAMBO CLEAN at 5 ml/l to eliminate sooty mold.
  5. Leaf miners:
    • Description: Larvae mine under leaf surface, forming trails.
    • Management:
      • Spray ALONZE 50EC at 3 ml/20l.
  6. Pod borer:
    • Description: Feeds on leaves, flowers, and pods, bore holes and damage seeds.
    • Management:
      • Spray PENTAGON 50EC at 10 ml/20l.
  7. Whiteflies:
    • Description: White insects sucking plant sap, causing leaf curling and sooty mold.
    • Management:
      • Spray PROFILE 440EC at 1.5 ml/l.
      • Spray JAMBO CLEAN at 100ml/20l for sooty mold.
  8. Thrips:
    • Description: Suck sap from leaves and flowers, leading to abortion and leaf fall.
    • Management:
      • Spray ALONZE 50EC at 5 ml/20l or PROFILE 440EC at 30ml/20l.


  1. Bean rust:
    • Description: Causes reddish-brown pustules on leaves, pods, and stems.
    • Management:
      • Spray DUCASSE 250EW at 1 ml/l or RANSOM 600WP at 15 g/20l.
  2. Downy mildew:
    • Description: Whitish or grey fungal growth on leaf undersides, chlorotic upper leaf surface.
    • Management:
      • Spray GEARLOCK TURBO 250WP at 25 g/20l.
  3. Anthracnose:
    • Description: Brown to black sunken lesions on pods, stems, and seeds.
    • Management:
      • Spray RANSOM 600WP at 15 g/20l or ABSOLUTE 375SC at 10 ml/20l.
  4. Bacterial blight:
    • Description: Small brown blotches on leaves, leading to leaf fall and plant death.
    • Management:
      • Spray GREEN COP 500WP at 50g/20l.
  5. Fusarium wilt:
    • Description: Sudden yellowing of leaves, wilting, and discoloration of vascular tissue.
    • Management:
      • Drench soil with GREENCOP 500WP at 5 g/l or TRINITY GOLD 425 WP at 2.5 g/l.

Fertilizer Application

Beans Farming in Kenya

Nutrient Management:

  1. Planting Stage:
    • Apply Phosphorous-rich fertilizer during planting.
    • Consider adding manure based on soil organic matter.
    • Mix fertilizer/manure with HUMIPOWER at a rate of 1 kg Humipower per 1 ton of manure or 50 kg basal fertilizer to improve nutrient uptake and stimulate plant growth.
  2. Top Dressing (4-5 Weeks After Germination):
    • Use CAN or basal fertilizer rich in Calcium, Boron, and Nitrates.
    • Mix with HUMIPOWER at a rate of 1 kg per 50 kg of basal fertilizer.
  3. Supplementation:
    • Supplement basal fertilizers with foliar fertilizers for a wide range of vital nutrient elements.

Foliar Feeds:

  1. OPTIMIZER (10 ml/20l):
    • Functions as a stress manager, boosts plant immunity, prevents flower abortion, and provides essential macro and micronutrients.
    • Can be sprayed at any stage of crop development.
  2. GOLDCHANCE SERIES (50g/20l):
    • Goldchance Super Start: For early crop development.
    • Goldchance Super Flowers & Fruits: For flowering and fruiting/pod development stages.

Weed Control:

  1. Weeding:
    • Essential to avoid losses due to weed competition and harboring pests and diseases.
    • CATAPULT 480SL (10-15 ml/l): Kills all types of weeds during land preparation or just before germination.
    • BENTAGRAN TOP® 240EC (2.5 ml/l): Post-emergent herbicide for controlling annual weeds in bean fields.
    • Weeding before flowering is crucial.

Beans Farming in Kenya Challenges

  1. Climate Change:
    • Disrupted planting patterns, making it challenging for farmers to determine the optimal planting time.
    • Low or insufficient rainfall due to climate change affecting yields.
  2. Lack of Adequate Information on Seed Varieties:
    • Farmers lack sufficient information on suitable seed varieties for their local areas.
    • Planting unsuitable seed varieties results in reduced yields and susceptibility to diseases.
  3. Pests and Diseases:
    • Common diseases include bean root rot disease, particularly affecting farms in areas like Kitale.
    • Pests such as the stem maggot attack plants within the first three weeks after germination, causing swollen stems and yellowing leaves.
  4. Unfair Competition from Imported Beans:
    • Imported beans from countries with lower production costs pose unfair competition.
    • Some governments offer subsidies for agricultural inputs, reducing production costs, unlike in Kenya.
    • The use of organic fertilizer can help lower production costs and increase return on investment for Kenyan bean farmers.


Beans Farming in Kenya
  1. Timing:
    • Depending on varieties, beans are ready for harvesting 70-120 days after sowing.
    • Some varieties have shorter maturity periods.
    • Plants are mature when leaves turn yellowish to brown or fall off.
  2. Harvesting Methods:
    • Beans can be harvested green or when dry.
    • For dry harvesting:
      • Pods are harvested when completely dry.
      • If pods have withered but are still moist, they can be picked and sun-dried.
      • Plants can be uprooted if most pods are ready for harvesting.
      • Timing is crucial as pods that are completely dry split open, exposing dried beans.


  1. Dry Beans:
    • Stored in treated gunny or PICS bags to prevent damage by storage pests.
    • Incorporate seeds with an insecticide like Actellic Super to prevent pest damage while in storage.
    • Bags should be placed on pallets, not directly on the floor.
  2. Green Beans:
    • Can be refrigerated for 8-10 days.
  3. Dried Beans:
    • Can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to a year or more.

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