Food is a necessity because it is necessary for the growth and maintenance of the human body. The benefits humans receive from food cannot be replicated by nutritional supplements. The proper foods provide calcium to build and strengthen bones, protein and iron for muscle maintenance and other nutrients that allow the optimal functioning of the body’s organs. Beans are one of such foods which the body needs for optimal growth. It is rich in B vitamins and folic acid, contains minerals including iron, selenium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, and is high in fiber.
Beans belong to the family of crops referred to as legumes. There are many varieties of beans but the type used in preparing Nigerian beans recipes are the kidney shaped black eyed beans and the brown beans. The demand for beans is high, both in the southern and northern parts of the country. Beans are mostly cooked to make a variety of recipes. Sometimes, the beans coat is removed in the process of preparing the recipe such as in:
Moi Moi – The beans coat is removed by a special technique and the beans blended and cooked with ingredients.
Akara – This is another Nigerian food recipe where beans coat is removed, the seeds blended and deep fried to make balls known as bean cakes. It is a very popular breakfast meal.
Ewa Agoyin – Also known as Beans & Stew. Is a good way to enjoy beans even if you are not a fan of beans. It tastes oh-so-good with soft, stretchy bread.
Beans Porridge – Here beans is cooked on its own with added ingredients. Variety is achieved by adding Yam, Plantain, sweet potato or baby corn.
Rice & Beans – This is one of those recipes that were derived to reduce the flatulence associated with beans. As the name implies, two major staples are used in cooking this recipe, rice and beans.
‘Fried’ Beans – In this recipe, beans is boiled and fried in red palm oil. It has a very traditional taste.
Requirements For Beans Farming
Farm Land: Locating a farm land, you have to consider an area with suitable climate for optimum growth and performance. Beans don’t grow well in areas with too much rain. It requires moderate but well distributed rainfall of about 300 to 400 mm per crop cycle. Dry weather is essential during harvest while prolonged dry conditions or extreme wetness is harmful to the crop.
Climbing types will yield well in areas of high rainfall while the dwarf types are more sensitive to high soil moisture levels. Suitable soil type range is from light to moderately heavy and to peaty with organic matter soil that is near neutral pH and good drainage. For a commercial farm, you need hectares of land from five and above for high return on investment. You can buy a farm land or lease. With the new coming government’s interest in Agriculture, you can acquire land with long leasing agreement.
Farming Equipment: There are different farming equipment to use depending on the size of the land and available finance. But in commercial farming, it has to be mechanised. Such as tractors (Mini or walking), wheel barrows, spraying machines, cutlass, etc you can buy or lease. With the introduction of mini and walking tractors which can plough a hectare of land in less than five hours, and cost #1,800,000 and #780,000 respectively, one is advised to buy while going into mechanised farming.
Planting Seeds: The verities of beans that flourish well in Nigeria are: the White Beans (Phaseolus Vulgaris) and the Red Beans. Select the best verity and do the seed selection too. It is not just enough to select the right verity; you need to manually do the seed selection to ensure you are planting only the best and the most health seeds. The planting seeds are packaged in different sizes such as 1kg, 5kg, and 10kg. Under normal circumstances and ideal conditions, the bean seed would begin to sprout within six days of planting and grow into a good sprout within two weeks.
Fertilizer: Beans does very well in normal soil fertility and does not require fertilizer in most cases. Only fertilize where levels of soil fertility are very low. If you are to fertilize, start after heavy bloom and set of pods. The most suitable fertilizer is the high Nitrogen type. But manure is highly recommended for beans farming such as animal droppings (Poultry, goat, cattle). You can use the animal droppings to formulate manure (compost) that can be enough for your farm by using grasses and green leaves from any tree. This will save cost and as a result, bring about high yield in the farm.
Bean is available all year round in Nigeria. A substantial quantity is cultivated in northern regions but can be grown anywhere in Nigeria. With the introduction of irrigation farm and improved seeds, you can farm beans any time of the year and be assured of good output.
The return on investment is high especially now that the level of mechanised farming is growing by day, with the availability of mini and hand tractors, cultivation has been made easy and affordable for farmers to buy or lease. Improved seeds are also available and as a result, farming output is becoming encouraged. Farmers are advised to make use of manure from animal drops or from farm by products (compost) in other to add less fertilizer in the farm so as to convert waste to wealth and save cost. The cost of farming beans on five hectares of land is about #245,000.00 (#30,000 for Beans seed, #42,000 for weed control, #35,000 for tractor leasing, #70,000 for Labour, #30,000 for others, #38,000 for fertilizer/manure). Your expected harvest is about 140 bags which is 100kg. If well maintained and each bag cost #18,000, that is to say that you made #2,520,000 less #245,000 cost of input, we have #2,275,000. The cost of leasing land is not included because it varies from one locality to another. However, the profit margin can be lower than this depending on your location. This financial analysis and the profit margin will be realised more by those farming in the north because of the availability of farm equipment and man power.
Beans are sold in the open Nigerian markets or African food stores all over the world. In the open Nigerian markets, they are sold in big bags in whole sale but sold in small cups as retail. With the coming of shopping plazas and halls in Nigeria, beans are often sold in small 1 kg to 5 kg packets. When buying beans, it is best to look out for the onset of weevil attack. Small holes on the beans seeds is a good indication of this.
Also, you will notice that the grains are dusty as a result of the weevils boring into the seeds.
Finance is the major challenge faced by farmers in Nigeria today as Agriculture is being transformed into a business that can accommodate all players in the sector. The federal government’s Agricultural intervention fund and some commercial banks have brought relief among farmers who can now access funds for Agribusiness start up or expansion with minimal interest rate. You can source your fund from Bank of Agric, Cooperative society, Commercial banks such as First bank (First bank Agricultural Development Trust Fund Credit (ADTFC) is a tripartite arrangement between a trust fund provider, the Bank, and CBN (guarantor) to provide working capital loans for farm business).
However with #500,000 one can comfortably farm beans on five hectares of land and make huge return on investment if properly taken care of, this includes cost of leasing land.