French beans farming in Kenya has been on the rise for years now.
A lot of farmers believe that they can make more money by growing french beans than any other crop because they are easy to grow and require less water than some other crops. They also do not need to be replanted every year, which saves both time and money!
Commonly known as ‘Mishiri’ , it is a crop that is mainly exported to other countries due to its low consumption here in Kenya.
Many farmers who grow French beans in Kenya have entered into contract farming with companies who export the crop to European countries as they cannot single-handedly meet the capacity required to fill a container of produce.
Farming this crop can be a lucrative venture if only one follows the right farming procedures to avoid their produce from being rejected and thus incurring losses.
Growth conditions of French beans
The first thing you should consider before planting is the soil conditions necessary for this crop to grow well.
They do well in soils with a pH level of between 6.0-8.0.If the soil is not within this range,you should consult your agricultural extension officer for advice on how to increase the acidity levels and decrease those alkaline levels .
The soil should have good drainage and be well-drained with a loamy texture.
They are light-sensitive plants, meaning they depend heavily on sunlight to grow.
Therefore, it is essential that they be planted in a place with good exposure to the sun.
You need at least six hours of direct sunshine each day for them to get enough light and start growing optimally.
They grow well in temperature of around 21 degrees Celsius.
If the temperature falls below this range,the plants will start showing poor growth and may eventually die off.
They need adequate levels of water for the plants to grow optimally.
Water should be applied at least twice a week on average, but not too close to harvest time as this can cause rot and other diseases in beans .
How to plant French beans in Kenya
- Spray the land with a weed herbicide to control grass weeds.
- Flatten the land with a fine plough and make furrows and ridges where you will plant the seeds.
- Mix the soil with DAP at a rate of 80 kg per acre along the planting rows.
- Drop two seeds in each holes with a spacing 60 cm * 20 cm and cover the seeds with loose soil.
- Once the crop produces 3 leaves and when it starts to flower , top dress by applying CAN at the ratio of 50 kg per acre.CAN fixes nitrogen in the soil which helps to make food for the plant.
- Perform weeding to avoid the crop from competing for nutrients with the weeds. Don’t weed when the crop is flowering as this will result to shedding of flowers.
- Support the pants with trellis or poles to avoid the leaves from touching the ground as they might contract diseases hence leading to flower abortion.
French beans are prone to diseases such as rust,bacterial blights,mildew and angular leaf spots.To keep diseases at bay, use the recommended herbicides, perform crop rotation, plant health certified seeds and varieties that are disease tolerant.
Harvesting French beans
French beans take a period of six to eight weeks to mature.For your produce to be accepted for export, ensure the pods are picked with the stalk attached to them.
Harvesting is done at regular intervals and continue for about one or two months.
If you have followed the right farming procedures you can get a yield of 6 tonnes per acre in a span of 2 and half months.
French beans varieties
Below are the the varieties in Kenya;
Where to buy french seeds in Kenya
If you are in contract farming with an exporting agent, they should provide seeds to you but if not, you can also purchase seeds from your local agrovet .
You can buy seeds from Kenya High Seeds whose brand name is ‘Royal seed’. Contact them on their toll free number 0800720250 .
French beans exporting companies in Kenya
There are several buyers of French beans in Kenya who export the produce to the European countries.
One of the key elements of a buyer is he or she should be a member of Fresh produce exporters association of Kenya.This is a body that ensures the Kenya horticultural industry adheres to safety and good agricultural practices in line with global standards.
Some of the accredited buyers are;
|French Beans Exporters|
|Afrifresh Horticulture Limited||All fresh growers|
|About nutri fresh Kenya||EMG Biofields Limited|
|Envisage Limited||Flamingo Horticulture Kenya|
|Forever Green Growers Limited||Frigoken Limited|
|GardenVeg Exporters Limited||Greenstep Exported Fresh Limited|
|Hillsted Fresh Limited||InterVeg Exports Limited|
|Jade Fesh Limited||Kenya Fresh Produce exporters|
|Myner Exports Limited||Oka Fresh Exports Limited|
|Pino agencies||Spintex enterprises Limited|
|The fresh approach Limited||Keilt Exporters Limited|
How to export french beans from Kenya
To export French beans from Kenya you need to;
- Apply to become an exporter of horticultural produce and have a HCD export license.
- Be a member of the fresh produce exporters association of Kenya.
How to apply for a HCD export license
Forward the following documents to the Horticultural Foods Directorate;
- Certified copy Certificate of Business Registration from the Registrar of companies.
- Copy of K. R. A. Pin
- Certified copies of memorandum and articles of association
- Copies of Identity Cards of all the Directors. A photocopy of passport and work permit if a Director or Directors are foreigners.
- Documentary evidence from overseas clients, e. g. a letter, fax or e-mail that you are ready to start an export business.
- Knowledge of the requirements from overseas market
- Business permit from local Authority
- Typed application form 1A and 1B.
- Certified Tax compliance certificate
- Registration fee of Ksh 5,000 per year
How to apply to Fresh produce exporters association of Kenya
- Apply by downloading and filling the ordinary member application form .
- Along with the application form attach:
- Copy of certificate of incorporation of the company
- Copy of KRA PIN of the company
- Copy of HCD export license (for previous year)
- Other certificates relevant to horticulture produce export business such as Global GAP certificate.
- Pay a membership fee of Ksh 20,000 which is non-refundable.
French beans farming in Kenya is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to start their own business and has the time, space, and money.
If you want more information about how to get started with this type of farming please contact us today!
We will be happy to help answer any of your questions or concerns.