The four bean varieties namely KAT bean 9, KAT X69, KAT bean 1 and KAT bean X56 were developed by local scientists at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Karlo) and are good for making pre-cooked bean products mainly for export.
According to the scientists, the beans are drought-resistant and mature in about two months unlike those varieties in the market which take up to three months to mature.
Kalro Director General Eliud Kireger in a statement said all the bean varieties, but in particular the X56, make good canned, chilled, packed and sauce beans products for export.
The growing of the beans by farmers will save on cooking fuel because they cook faster as compared to other varieties in the market, which include Nyayo, noted Kireger.
The institution aims to raise production of beans in the country by over 40,000 metric tonnes annually following the additional varieties, which are to be planted in Western, Rift Valley and Eastern regions of the East African nation.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, beans in Kenya are used as a source of proteins, with a consumption rate of between 50-60kg per person annually.
However, farmers have been facing challenges growing the horticultural crop due to limited access to quality seeds suited for their regions.
It is estimated that 61 percent of farmers in the East African nation use farm-saved seeds, 10 percent buy seeds from the market, 9 percent from authorised seed dealers and while government provides a paltry 0.3 percent.
“I hope those beans will reach our area because what I am planting currently does not offer me much,” said Seth Ambale, a farmer in Kitale, western Kenya.
As many other farmers across Kenya, Ambale is readying to plant maize and beans at the onset of the rainy season set to begin later this month.
“I have already bought my maize seeds from a government agency depot, which I am assured of the quality but I am yet to get bean seeds. I wish they would have released those new seeds to farmers as soon as possible,” he said. Enditem