Food is a necessity because it is important for the growth and maintenance of the human body. The benefits human beings derive from foods cannot be replicated by nutritional supplements. When eaten, proper foods provide calcium to build and strengthen the bones, protein and iron for muscle maintenance and other enriching nutrients that ensure total functioning of the body organs. Beans is one of such foods that the human body needs to achieve optimal growth.
Beans is rich in vitamin B and folic acid,it contains minerals such as iron, selenium, magnesium, potassium and calcium and of course high in fiber. While it comes in varieties, the popular ones used in preparing Nigerian beans recipes are the kidney-shaped black eyed beans and the brown beans.
Beans is one of Nigeria and other West African countries most consumed food stuff after favourites, Rice and Cassava. Unfortunately, despite the massive demand for beans and consumption of beans in the country, a significant proportion of the beans consumed is imported from Benin Republic; hence, generating a constant revenue give off and source of employment for the neighboring country when our own soil is highly favorable for beans farming.
This leads to the question: why are farmers, entrepreneurs and youths not learning towards beans farming despite the huge demand in consumption? Well, the answer is not far-fetched! The average Nigerian exhibits the same short-sightedness and reluctance, they are known for when it comes to business. They are extremely terrified of taking risks.
If Nigerians can scratch beyond the surface, they’d discover that only few investment offers a source of steady income as farming does in Nigeria, including beans farming. This is not to say that there are no farmers involved in beans farming, it simply means their yield doesn’t meet the needs of the Nigerian populace.
Research and experience has shown that lands located in the South East region and South West region of Nigeria are highly fertile for beans farming. Therefore, it comes as a surprise to find many unemployed youths whiling away their time in the hope of securing white-collared jobs when a good opportunity like beans farming exists.
Why is beans farming beneficial?
As a legume, beans is one of the easiest and partially most affordable sources of protein for every family; no matter your status or hierarchy in the society. Interestingly, no culture or religion in Nigeria forbids beans consumption. Additionally, beans is a versatile food staple in Nigeria; as it can be prepared in various forms. Various forms of beans recipes in Nigeria include:
Moi Moi: Here, the beans coat is removed either by hand or by crushing with a special type of stone and then blend it and cook it with other ingredients.
Akara: This is another Nigerian beans recipe that involves removing the beans coat too. The seeds are blended and deep fried in oil to make balls popularly referred to as bean cake. It is also famous for human beings as breakfast meal.
Ewa Agoyin: This delicious beans recipe is also referred to as beans and stew. It tastes so soft and gives your taste buds a delicious treat especially when eaten with soft, stretchy bread. Funnily, this beans recipe is associated with Nigerian bricklayers.
Rice & Beans: Derived to reduce the flatulence normally associated with, this recipe is especially good for people who aren’t a fan of beans. And as the name implies, the staples used in preparing the food are rice and beans.
Beans Porridge: Here, the beans is cooked on its own with added ingredients like yam, plantain, sweet potato or baby corn.
“Fried” Beans: Here, the beans is boiled and fried in red palm oil; hence, giving it a very traditional taste.
If you are looking to start farming, beans farming is guaranteed to generate a steady source of revenue for you due to its high demand.
A 100kg bag of beans is currently sold for N25, 000- N27, 000 (2017), and there are some times in the year when the price spikes up to N36, 000- N40, 000 when the new beans is yet to come out. Now, let’s assume you sell 100 bags of beans for N25, 000, you would be making N25, 000 X 100 =N2, 700,000.
To start a beans farm that would produce about 100 bags will cost you around N1million; however, this is not to say that you have to start big especially if you don’t have the said amount of money and want to engage in beans farming. Big things start small, remember?
However, if you intend going big, N1 million naira should be enough provided you can get an affordable land or you already have a suitable land which is big enough and suitable for beans farming. Another factor that might work in your favour is the availability of cheap labour; if you can get laborers with cheaper wages, it would go a long way in reducing your overhead cost.
With the ever-growing need for more beans farmers and the market demand makes beans farming a profitable venture worth investing in.
Therefore, we’ve painstakingly created this step-by-step guide to help existing and aspiring beans farmers thrive in their beans farming business. Beans farming in Nigeria isn’t rocket science….. with the right information and capital, you are good to go.
Resources Required To Start Beans Farming In Nigeria
1). Suitable Farm Land: When locating a farm land for beans farming in Nigeria, ensure that you select a location with suitable climate for optimum growth and performance. Beans are renowned for not growing so well in areas with excess rainfall. It requires a moderate but well distributed rainfall of about 300 to 400 mm per crop cycle. Also, keep in mind that dry weather is of utmost necessity during harvest, while prolonged dry conditions or extreme wetness can damage the crops.
Climbing types tend to yield well in areas with high rainfall while the dwarf types are more suitable for high soil moisture levels. Suitable soil type for beans farming in Nigeria ranges from light to moderately heavy and to peaty with organic matter soil those boasts of a neutral pH and good drainage. Common beans are sensitive to salt; therefore, you must avoid salty areas.
For a commercial farm, you need to have at least five and above to achieve a high return on investment. You can either buy a farm land or lease it. If you’re leaning towards leasing, you can acquire farm land with long leasing agreement via the government’s increasing interest in agriculture. After you’ve found a suitable land, the next step is to prepare it in readiness for planting. Ensure you clear the land properly and burn the grass; then, use a tractor cultivator to plow the soil and loosen the earth.
2). Farming Equipments: There are different farming equipments to use; it all depends on the size of the land and the capital at your disposal. However, if you opt for commercial farming, it has to be mechanized. You’d need equipments like tractors (mini or walking), wheel barrows, spraying machines, cutlass, etc. with the introduction of mini and walking tractors capable of ploughing a hectare of land in no less than five hours, it is advisable to buy these tools when venturing into mechanized farming. Prices for the mini and walking tractors are N1, 800,000 and N780, 000 respectively.
3). Select The Right Seeds: The varieties of beans suitable for the Nigerian soil terrain are: The White Beans (Phaseolus Vulgaris) and The Red Beans. Ensure you select the best variety and don’t forget to do the seed selection too. Manually selecting the seeds will ensure that you plant only the best and most healthy seeds. The planting seeds come in various sizes such as 1kg, 5kg and 10kg.
4).Planting: Beans can either be planted in rows or blocks, with a space of 6 inches between each seed. Ensure that you plant the seeds 2 inches deep into the soil and cover it with the soft surface soil. If possible, let the seed eyes face the ground. Under normal circumstances and suitable environmental conditions, the bean seed should begin to sprout within six days of planting and grow into a good sprout within two weeks.
5). Fertilization: Beans grows well in normal soil fertility; and most times, do not require the boost of a fertilizer. Therefore, you should only add fertilizers when the levels of soil fertility are low. To fertilize, begin after heavy bloom and set of pods. The most suitable fertilizers for beans are those highly rich in nitrogen.
Do not grip too tightly when applying high nitrogen fertilizer, as you’d get very beautiful plants pleasant to the eyes but definitely not pleasant to your pocket. Therefore, you need to moderately apply the fertilizer to achieve high yield. However, manure is highly recommended for beans farming in Nigeria.
Animal droppings gotten from cattle, poultry and goats are the best. Additionally, you can use the animal droppings to formulate manure (compost) that can be enough for your farm by using green grasses and leaves from all kinds of trees. This will in turn, minimize expenditure, and ultimately, produce a high yield in the beans farm.
6). Weeding: Weeding is very essential to the growth of beans. Weed properly and use shallow cultivation to avoid disturbing the roots.
7). Planting Season: Beans is available all year round in Nigeria. A substantial quantity of beans found in the markets is gotten from the northern regions of Nigeria, but can be grown anywhere in the part of the country. With the introduction of improved seeds and irrigation farms, you can begin beans farming anytime and you can be confident of producing a bountiful harvest.
8). Profitability: The return on investment on beans farming in Nigeria is now especially with the gradual embrace of mechanized farming by Nigerian farmers. The cost of cultivating beans on five hectares of land is estimated to be about N245,000 (N30,000 for procuring beans seed, N42,000 for weed control, N35,000 for lease of tractor, N70,000 for labour, N30,000 for miscellaneous expenses and N38,000 for fertilizer/manure).
With proper land maintenance, your estimated harvest for 5 hectares of lands is 140bags which equals 100kg. If well maintained, you are expected to make N2, 520, 000 (profit for a bag of beans at N18, 000). Your profit would be N2, 275,000 9N2, 520,000- N245, 000).
This calculation excludes the cost of leasing as the price varies from one area to the other. However, your profit margin could be less depending on your location. This financial analysis and profit margin is best achievable by farmers in the northern part of Nigeria as they have better access to farm equipments and cheap manpower.
9). Availability Of Market: The demand for beans by Nigeria’s 170 million people grows higher and doesn’t look like it’s going to decrease anytime soon. Beans are sold in open Nigerian markets or in African food stores all over the world. While beans are sold in big bags (for wholesale) and small cups (for retail); the advent of shopping malls in Nigeria has allowed for the availability of beans in small 1kg to 5kg packets.
No matter where you decide to purchase your beans, it’s best that you look out for the onset of weevil attack. This is indicated by the presence of small holes in beans seeds. Also, watch out for dusty grains as it’s an indication that weevils are boring holes in the seeds.
10).Financing: Finance is a major challenge for all farmers, and beans farming in Nigeria is no exception. The federal government’s Agricultural Intervention Fund and several commercial banks in Nigeria have brought relief to farmers. Nigerian farmers can now have aces to funds either for startup or expansion with minimal interest rate. Various sources of funds include Bank of Agriculture, cooperative societies, and commercial banks like First Bank of Nigeria (First Bank Agricultural Development Trust Fund Credit (ADTFC)). ADTFC is a tripartite arrangement between a trust fund provider, the bank, and CBN (acting as the guarantor)