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What constrains bean farmers?

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 second episode was broadcast on Sunday 14 June 2015 between  7:00 – 7:30 pm. It was commissioned by N2Africa and production co-ordinated by Farm Radio International.

A total of 903 people participated in the poll.

Question 1: “What is the one biggest constrain you experience when it comes to growing beans?

  • 350 (39%) pests and diseases
  • 176 (20%)  lack of good quality seeds
  • 120 (1 3%)  low fertility
  • 61 ( 7%) respondents mentioned other reasons such as unreliable weather (heavy rainfalls/ little rains in some places), counterfeit pesticides in the market, lack of information about good practices when it comes to bean cultivation, absence of agro dealers in the respective places, unavailability of fertilizers in their respective areas hence forced to only use organic fertilizers, low production, small plots

 People were given the chance to answer a follow upquestion.

Question 2: “ How are you addressing this challenge?

537 respondents left voice messages explaining how they addressing the challenges.

Pests and diseases: Use of best bean storage methods (conservation of bean seeds) – listeners said to believe that the major cause of the spread of pests and diseases is planting infected seeds which are normally stored from the previous harvest. Therefore, dealing with the problem, listeners said that they are trying as much as they can to preserve their seeds including using pesticides to make sure that they are not passing the pests and diseases to the next season. Others make sure that they buy authentic been seeds from agro-dealers.

Some respondents said that they deal with pests and diseases by uprooting infected plants to avoid spreading of diseases to other plants while others kindly seek for advice from extension workers and other bean experts.

Low fertility – some of the ways mentioned by respondents who left their voice message explaining how to deal with the challenge of low fertility in their fields included early preparations of their fields so as not to miss the early rain season,planting beans on anthills, use of fertilizer to boost production especially organic fertilizers.

Bean Storage –Listeners who left their voice message mentioned that it is always a challenge to store beans to be use as seeds for the next season. They normally use local methods such as the pouring ash, which is not so effective.

Low production – Low production is one of the reasons which was most mentioned by respondents who left their voice messages. Respondents mentioned to use organic fertilizers in dealing with the problem. However, respondents said that they are still not impressed by the results organic fertilizers give.

Bean Market – Somelisteners mentioned that there is no good market for beans

Small plots – Some listeners said that dealing with the challenges, they are forced to rent other people’s plots so as to maximize their production.

Climate – According to listeners, the cultivation of beans requires an average climate. However with the climate change, there comes change in rainfall patterns and longer sunny periods which have significant effects on the yields. To deal with this, listeners said that they prepare their farms earlier to make sure that do not miss early rainfall patterns.