Tel: +254 (0)20 2271000/ 20


What N2Africa learned about bean varieties

A short radio series called INUKA was developed to start conversations with bean farmers in Tanzania. It was broadcast on Radio Free Africa, a station with nationwide coverage in Tanzania. The first episode was broadcast on Sunday 7 June 2015 between  7:00 – 7:30 pm. It was commissioned by N2Africa and production co-ordinated by Farm Radio International.


The first program aimed to understand which bean varieties are grown. 839 farmers responded to a poll question which was designed to understand two things:

  • the popular variety that bean farmers are growing
  • the reasons for the preference

Question 1: “What bean variety are you planting?”

  • 259 (31%) Soya Njano
  • 171 (20%)  Kitenge
  • 107 (13%)  Iringa
  • 63 (8 %) Rosecoco
  • 238 (28%) other varieties including Kalunde, Bukoba, white beans and red beans.

People were given the chance to answer a follow-up question.

Question 2: “Why are you planting such variety?

● 594 respondents left voice messages explaining why they are planting that variety.

The following are the reasons that were mostly mentioned by farmers who left their voice messages as to why they are planting the variety of their choice;

  • Drought and disease resistant – Listeners planted certain varieties because they are drought and disease resistant and hence even with the climate change, they are assured of harvest. This was mostly mentioned by those who said to grow Kitenge and Soya Njano.
  • It’s the variety that they have been planting – some listeners said that they are planting a certain variety because it is the one that they have been cultivating for long hence know for sure how to plant and manage the farm in terms of pests and diseases. Also since they have been planting for a long time, and they believe that it’s the variety that grows well in their areas.
  • Market – Listeners cultivate certain varieties because they taste better and hence fetche good price in the market. This allows them to make good money and hence be able to take care of themselves and their families. This was mostly mentioned by yellow beans growers. For farmers growing white beans, said that white beans really get good markets especially to boarding schools.
  • Takes shorter time to mature –Listeners said that some varieties takes shorter time to mature than others and hence assured of the harvest even with climate changes. This also came out more from participants who said to cultivate yellow beans