Beans Farming in Nigeria – An Ultimate Guide on How to Grow Beans
Beans farming is the cultivation of beans seeds from the planting stage to the stage of harvest and marketing of the harvested produce. Nigerians have a special love for beans (cowpea) because it provides the much needed protein for people. The relatively cheap price and the unique taste is one of the reasons Nigerians fall in love for this food crop.
Go to cities, towns and villages in all parts of Nigeria, you will see people cultivating this crop. However, most farmers cultivate beans the wrong way. The yield gotten from beans farming in Nigeria can be as low as 0.2 tons per hectare while those who farm cowpea or beans the right way can get as high as 2 tons per hectare.
Beans is a legume. Planting beans on your farmland can improve your soil as it fixes nitrogen in the soil. Beans do well in slightly acidic to neutral soil. It prefers soil pH of 6 – 7.
Beans also prefer temperature of above 70 F as it likes tropical climatic conditions.
How to start beans farming in Nigeria
The following steps should be taken when starting beans farming in Nigeria:
1. Get a farmland
To start beans farming, you need to get a farmland. You can acquire, rent or lease your farmland. It is pretty easy and cheap to get farmland in rural areas of Nigeria. In some areas in Nigeria, you can rent one hectare of farmland for as low as N10,000.
It is a fallacy that beans can do well only in the northern part of Nigeria. Beans or cowpea can be cultivated in all regions of Nigeria. If a farmer implements sound agronomic practices, he will get a good yield from his beans farm in any location in Nigeria.
2. Soil Preparation
Cowpeas grow well in good soil that is fairly loose. This crop does not do well in compact soil. Cowpea can grow in poor soils. This is one of the advantages of cultivating this crop.
The crop can even improve the quality of your soil. After getting your farmland, you will need to remove the weeds. A tractor with plough can be used to bury the weeds in the soil. The buried weeds can improve the quality of the soil.
The soil should be harrowed after ploughing, then a ridge or bed should be done on the soil. Having ridges or beds on the farmland is not a must but it can increase the yield while doing beans farming.
3. Engage people as members of staff
You cannot do beans farming alone except if you want to cultivate a very small area. If you want to make good money, you need to cultivate at least one hectare of farmland. You will need to recruit people who will work with you on your farmland.
Employing people around the location of your farmland can be advantageous. You can also employ labourers who come from neighbouring countries into Nigeria.
4. Get the right seeds
You should use good beans seeds. Do not buy beans seeds from the open market, patronise only accredited seeds dealers.
Hybrid seeds are usually higher yielding than open pollinated seeds. They also resist a lot of diseases and pests.
5. Get farm inputs needed
Your beans farm needs farm inputs like fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides and nematicides. To plant beans, the type of fertilizers needed should have high phosphatic content. Examples are Single Super Phosphate (SSP) fertiliser or Diammonium Phosphate (DAP).
You can also use a little bit of Muriate of Potash (MOP) at the flowering stage of the cowpea. Avoid high nitrogenous fertilizer and this can negatively impact your beans crop.
6. Manage the farm
You need to efficiently manage your farm. Do not rely on your unskilled members of staff as they can be funny. Make sure that all your instructions are fully carried out. Your staff can make or mar you chances of making money from your cowpea farm.
Sow cowpea varieties have a short growth time. There are 40 days variety and also 100 days variety. The creeping variety has a longer duration time and higher yield. The erect type has a short duration but a slightly lower yield.
You should harvest when the pods are dry and slightly brownish in colour.
8. Market the harvested beans
After harvesting, you can store your beans for a while and sell when the prices peak. The prices of beans in Nigeria peaks around March – April every year.
Types of beans grown in Nigeria
The following are the types of beans grown in Nigeria:
- Iron Beans (White and Brown Beans)
- Kidney Beans
- Black beans
For this post, we will only discuss the common cowpea or beans eaten by Nigerians.
How to Plant Beans
Beans are planted very close to each other. The intra plant spacing can be as low as 15cm. Between 100,000 – 120,000 erect beans plants can be accommodated in one hectare of farmland.
For the crawling variety of beans, 50,000 – 60,000 plants can be accommodated in one hectare.
The weight of seeds needed if you want to plant the erect beans variety is 30 – 50kg. For the crawling variety, the weight of seeds needed to plant one hectare of farmland is 12 – 15kg.
40 days beans in Nigeria
The variety of beans that reach maturity in 40 days in Nigeria is what Nigerian beans farmers call ’40 days beans’. This variety of beans enable beans farmers to harvest their beans in 40 days. It also allows them to quickly earn returns or profit from their farms.
40 days beans varieties are usually the short and erect varieties. The crawling varieties of beans reach maturity in about 60 days.
FUMPEA I and II, SAMPEA 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 40 days (Kwankwaso) are some of the varieties of 40-day beans Nigerian farmers grow.
Kwankwaso beans variety named after a former governor of Kano state in Nigeria is very popular among beans farmers in the northern part of Nigeria. It is resistant to a lot of pests and diseases and can reach maturity within 40 days.
How many bags of beans can a farmer harvest per hectare?
The average beans farmer in Nigeria have a poor yield because he uses sub-standard inputs, little or no fertilizers, poor quality seeds and lack of good agricultural practices.
There are factors that can impact the number of bags of beans you can harvest per hectare of farmland.
We have seen beans farmers who harvested over 30 bags of beans per hectare (100kg bags). We have also seen beans farmers who harvested less than 10 bags per hectare because they implemented poor agronomic practices.
Best month to plant beans in Nigeria
Beans farmers in Nigeria usually grow beans or cowpea towards the end of the rainy season in Nigeria. Intense rainfall during the rainy season months can negatively impact the growth and yield of the beans plants.
Farmers generally start planting beans seeds between the months of June and August in Nigeria. The rainfall during these months will greatly help the cowpea to grow well.
It should be noted that beans can be grown all year round in Nigeria if you have irrigation in place. Drip irrigation is the best type of irrigation for the growing of beans.
Diseases and Pests of Beans or Cowpea in Nigeria
The following diseases and pests are prevalent in beans or cowpea crop in Nigeria:
- Grain Borer
- Leaf Spot
- Root Not Nematodes
- Brown Rust
- Rhinoceros Beetle
- Viral Diseases etc.
Beans farming can be very profitable, if you need guidance, seeds and farm inputs, you can contact us now.