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Quality lessons for sugar bean farmers

28 February 2013

Quality lessons for sugar bean farmers

Photo: Farmers sorting and cleaning sugar beans

A group of sugar bean farmers are putting their Farm Africa training to good use in the first year of a project working with female farmers in Uganda.

The project is helping the farmers set up a sustainable sugar bean enterprise so the women can increase their incomes.

The first stage is to produce high-quality seeds for all the farmers to grow. We’ve supplied the women with 2.5 tonnes of seeds, which they will use to produce certified seeds to distribute among the whole group.

Viable business

The women will initially pay for the seeds in kind with the beans they produce. In later seasons they will buy them, to make sure that the business is viable over the long-term.

So far the women have planted 160 acres, which yielded more than 100 tonnes of beans – around half for sale and half for consumption at home.

The project is helping farmers put in place quality standards so that they grow beans of high-enough quality to export to Europe. The group found a buyer for 40 tonnes of beans but the sale did not go through as the beans were not the correct quality – a valuable experience for the farmers to learn from.

A storage facility is being set up to ensure the produce isn’t damaged after harvest, maintaining the beans’ value for markets.

Demonstration sites

Farm Africa has also established ten demonstration sites to test methods of staking climbing beans to find the most productive approach.

More than 540 farmers have received training in post-harvest quality control, labelling and marketing, so the women will be well placed to develop their businesses in future harvests.

Read more about the sugar bean project

Read more about our work in Uganda