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The best sugar bean ever

In Uganda, 1,500 female sugar bean farmers from Kisoro and Kabale districts are finding lucrative markets for their growing harvests.

Anostacia is learning how to earn more money by drying and packaging her sugar beansTen years ago, life was very different for 60-year-old Anostacia. The bean crops that her family relied on to survive were regularly blighted by plant diseases, making daily life a constant struggle for her family. All this started to change when she took part in a Farm Africa project helping farmers in her area to start growing a particular variety of sugar beans that has a natural resistance to a local disease known as root rot.

Before long her hard work paid off, and she had increased her harvest from four bags each season to around ten bags, much of which she has been selling to other farmers so that they too can start growing the sugar beans.

Invaluable investment

The money has been invaluable. She has been able to pay for her children’s education and invest in some goats. As well as providing nutritious milk, the goats also produce manure, which acts as a great fertiliser for Anostacia’s crops.

Kisoro and Kabale districts are once again successful bean-producing areas, and Farm Africa has returned to help local farmers turn their beans into a successful business venture. The project is helping Anostacia, and many others like her, to add value to their harvests by processing their beans for sale further from their homes where prices are much higher. Initially farmers are learning about drying and packaging their beans for sale to supermarkets, hotels and schools in the region.

Links with business

We have also helped the community start discussions with a canning company who have described the beans as “the best sugar bean ever for canning”. Everyone is hopeful that this could be the start of a long-term relationship. In the meantime, farmers are learning about bean production, storage and quality control, and Farm Africa is building a storage centre where the beans can be kept in bulk ready for processing.

Anostacia hopes that this will be the start of the next new chapter in her life, and is hoping that if she works hard she may even be able to invest in some cows.