Farmers in Nakuru county have been advised to plant Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KARLO) dry land beans to reduce poverty and raise income in arid and semi-arid areas.
The Nakuru county director of agriculture Fredrick Owino said beans are a crop whose potential has not been exploited by farmers to the maximum, adding that traditionally beans have consistently been grown as an intercrop with maize.
However, he said with the development of new varieties by KARLO and Egerton university, it has become necessary that farmers adopt pure stand planting of beans and avoid the norm of inter-planting with maize.
Additionally, he said the new varieties are Nyota, and Angaza, which are high iron bled beans bred by KARLO.
Egerton University has also developed Chelalang, Ciankui and Tasha, which are high-yielding beans.
Interviewed by KNA at the county offices, he said beans can act as a food security crop and cash crop for farmers to lift their living standards and income.
The sellers of beans in Nakuru city interviewed by KNA said they had become the new delicacies due to the high cost of living that has made it difficult for most families to afford meat.
Edna Kemunto said she sells two sacks per day at Kaptebwo market and she has never experienced such a scenario since she started selling cereals five years ago.
“The demand for beans is too high and we can’t meet the response because the neighbouring countries that have been supplying us are waiting for the next harvest,” she said.
However, a number of local farmers who planted early and have green beans have refused to sell to supermarkets and middlemen because they have noted the high demand for dry beans. Currently, a kilo is selling at sh.150 compared to sh.120 last month.