For the last fifty years, local farmers have always grown the same variety of beans year-in-year-out.
However, all that is about to change with the spirited effort of promoting the new range that’s not only more nutritious but has higher yields and cooks within 30 minutes.
A champion Extension Officer, Mrs Florence Amalemba, who has already converted over a thousand farmers at Gilgil sub-country has now been transferred to Njoro to do the same.
Interviewed by KNA today at Njoro, she said the Nyota, Ngaza and Zaida beans were bred by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO). But Nyota was the most preferred by the local farmers.
She said although the varieties were released to the market two years ago, most farmers were not aware of them hence the continued planting of the famous Wairimu, Rose-coco and Nyayo beans that were introduced to the farmers in the year 1972.
The officer said although the earlier beans have served the farmers well, consumers have always complained about the tediousness of cooking them because they take a long time to be ready.
Malemba said the current varieties were not only richer in iron but they take just 30 minutes to cook and they don’t cause a lot of flatulence like the former, which made a number of people avoid eating beans totally.
Besides, she said the beans were tastier and easier to cook compared to the 1972 varieties that require soaking for twelve hours and another one hour for cooking that consumes a lot of fuel.
She noted that the high consumption of fuel was a major deterrence to urban families that feared depleting their monthly gas just for a single meal and that led to buying poorly cooked ones from roadside vendors.
The Extension Officer further said the economic benefits for the farmers were better since one acre yields 600kgs, and a kilogram currently sells between Sh100 – 150 compared to the older varieties that sell for as little as Sh40 at the farm gates.
She said beans were the most affordable form of proteins that has the longest shelf-life and it makes a great difference for poor families and vegetarians’ health.
By Veronica Bosibori