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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

Farm Africa training is being put to good use by a group of sugar bean farmers in Uganda.

The project is helping women farmers increase their incomes by setting up a sustainable sugar bean enterprise.

The first stage in the project is produce high-quality seeds for all the farmers to grow. Farm Africa has supplied the women with 2.5 tonnes of seeds. From these, they will produce certified seeds to distribute among the whole group.

Viable business

Initially, the women will pay for the seeds in kind with the beans that they grow. They will then, in later seasons, buy them, to ensure that the business is viable over the long-term.

The women have so far planted 160 acres, which has yielded more than 100 tonnes of beans. Around half will be for sale and the other half for consumption at home.

So that the farmers grow beans of high-enough quality to export to Europe, the project is also helping them put in place quality standards. A buyer for 40 tonnes of beans was found, but the sale did not go through as the beans were not the correct quality – a valuable learning experience for the farmers.

A storage facility is also being set up which will ensure the beans aren't damaged after harvest, while also maintaining their value for markets.

Demonstration sites

Ten demonstration sites have also been established by Farm Africa to test methods of staking climbing beans so as to find the most productive approach.

Training has been provided to more than 540 farmers in post-harvest quality control, labelling and marketing, so the women will be well equiped to develop their businesses in future harvests.

Read more about the sugar bean project

Read more about our work in Uganda