French Beans( Mishiri) Farming in Kenya

French beans, scientifically known as Phaseolus vulgaris and locally known as “mishiri” are a popular and lucrative crop for farmers. Originating from Central and South America, these greens have found a thriving home in the diverse agricultural landscape of Kenya.

Ideal Growing Conditions for French beans.

French beans, with their delicate tendrils and crisp pods, flourish under specific environmental conditions. To cultivate a thriving mishiri plantation in Kenya, it’s essential to consider the following factors.

1.    Soil Quality

French beans prefer well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter. Sandy-loamy soils are particularly suitable, ensuring that water doesn’t accumulate around the roots. A soil pH. of between 6.0 to 7.5 should be maintained for optimal nutrient absorption.

2.    Sunlight Requirements

French beans are sun-loving plants. The location where you plant your french beans should be receiving a maximum of 8 -10 hours of sunlight daily to ensure photosynthesis, promoting healthy growth and abundant pond development.

3.    Temperature

French beans require a temperature of between 18 to 24 degrees Celsius. They are sensitive to extreme temperatures, so providing a moderate climate encourages steady growth.

4.    Watering practices

Adequate and consistent watering is crucial for growth of french beans, especially during the flowering and pod-setting stages. At all costs a farmer should avoid waterlogging, as it can lead to root diseases. Implement a drip irrigation ensuring the soil remains consistently moist.

How many French beans per acre?

For optimal yield and growth, it’s recommended to plant about 10-15 kilograms of seeds per acre. The seeding density allows for proper spacing between the plants, ensuring each plant receives adequate sunlight, nutrients, and airflow for healthy development. However, the actual number may vary slightly based on factors such as the specific variety, local conditions, and farming practices.

How profitable is French beans farming in Kenya?

French beans are one of the crops that dominates the Kenya’s export market. French beans have a consistent demand both locally and internationally. High demand in European and Middle Eastern markets provide export opportunities, contributing to potential profitability.

French beans have a relatively short harvesting cycle, typically 45 to 65 days. The ability to harvest multiple times within a growing season increases the overall yield and potential income.

However, challenges such as fluctuating market prices, weather conditions and potential pests and diseases can impact profitability. Farmers need to stay informed about market trends, adopt sustainable farming practices, and continuously improve their techniques to maximize profits.

Harvesting French beans.

French beans usually mature 45 to 65 days from planting. Harvesting at the right stage is very crucial for quality produce. French beans should be harvested when the pods are firm, crisp, and about 10-12 centimetres long. Pods at this stage are at their peak flavour and have a longer shelf life. Their harvesting frequency should be every 2-3 days. Regular harvesting promotes continuous flowering and pod development.

In harvesting French beans, two techniques can be used i.e., Hand harvesting and use of scissors or shears.

Most French beans are hand- harvested to avoid damage to the delicate pods. Harvesters need to be careful not to injure the plant or neighbouring pods during the process. Using sharp scissors or shears is another technique that helps minimize damage to the plant and ensures a clean cut, facilitating faster healing for the next round of pod development.

Pests and Diseases that affect French beans.

French beans are susceptible to various pests and diseases, and effective management is crucial for a successful harvest. Here are common pests and diseases that affect French beans.

Ø  Aphids

They feed on the plant sap distorting the plant growth and transmitting viruses.

Control: Use insecticidal soaps and neem oil to manage aphid infestations.

Ø  Thrips

Thrips feed on leaves, causing stippling and silvering of the surface.

Control: Use insecticidal sprays and maintain good weed control to manage thrips.

Ø  Cutworms

These are nocturnal larvae that cut through stems at the soil level.

Control: Use biological control methods.

Ø  Angular leaf spot

This disease causes water-soaked lesions that later turn brown and angular on leaves. It can be managed through use of copper-based fungicides, practising crop rotation, and generally planting disease resistant variety.

Ø  Bacterial Wilt

It causes wilting and yellowing of the french beans’ leaves. Soil sanitation is essential for managing bacterial wilt.

Regular monitoring, timely intervention, and preventive measures such as maintaining good farm hygiene and using disease- resistant varieties are key to managing pests and diseases in French beans farming.

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