French beans (fine and extra-fine) are one of the major vegetable export crops for East Africa, which has propelled Kenya to the pinnacle of greatness as a horticulture nation. East African Growers is listed among the largest growers and exporters of these beans, exporting up to 75tonnes on a weekly basis.

French beans

French Beans Farming In Kenya

French beans are among the major horticultural crops produced in Kenya for export. The export season of French beans is from November to April.

French beans yields per acre

The harvesting, which include picking, selecting and packing approximately 1 300 cartons for export required the highest labor with 3 030 mh/ha; canning, 100 mh/ha; irrigation, 80 mh/ha with 20 applications; weeding, 35 mh/ha; spraying, 14 mh/ha; top dressing, 9 mh/ha and planting, 7 mh/ha.

The average yield is between 600 to 1 000 cartons of 3 kg/acre (1 482.6 โ€“ 2 471.0 cartons/ha).

  • Certified seed significantly influences French bean yields.
  • farm size significantly influences French bean yields
  • farm yard manure significantly influence French bean yields.
  • fertilizers and chemicals also influence yields

French beans seed rate per acre

Recommended seed rate of French beans (75kg/ha) which gives optimal growth of the plant. If the
seed rate is higher than the recommended, the yields obtained are expected to decrease due to competition for sunlight, water and nutrients.

Prices of French beans in Kenya

The price of french beans at farm gate is Kshs 21 per carton of 3 kgs. Some of the small farmers had direct access to the export markets but the majority of them had to sell to the exporters. A good majority of the farmers estimated a profit of about 25 per cent but considered employment it provides for them and the rural people a very important benefit.

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Ecological Requirements

French beans do well in an altitude 0-1800 Meters above sea level, warm temperatures between 12-34 degrees; temperatures below 12 encourage frost which is harmful to the crop while that above 34 will result to flower abortion. Rain must be well distributed throughout the year, i.e 600-1500 mm.


The soil should be well drained; a waterlogged soil will increase risk of root and collar rot, seed asphyxia at the germination stage while saline soils should be avoided since the beans are sensitive to salinity. Fertilizer applications must be split up and applied in several installments to avoid excess doses of salts.

Before planting French bean on your farm, it is important to consider which preceding crops were on the field. Some crops share the same diseases with French bean therefore if planted immediately there will be a buildup of pests and diseases.


Other crops Have a huge toll on the soil in terms of exploiting the nutrient resources therefore it may be necessary to supply additional nutrients to the soil. Beans, peas, potato, eggplant, melon cucumber, zucchini, water melon, lettuce and okra are to be avoided (where possible) as preceding crops. Recommended as proceeding crop includes cereals (baby corn), cabbage, beetroot, sweet potato, strawberry while groundnut, pepper, carrot and onion are not useful as preceding crop.

The most important thing to consider during sowing is the depth. Research has demonstrated that the most optimal depth is 3-5 cm for sandy soils, while for heavy soils a depth of 2 cm is sufficient.

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Another important thing is to time the market, plant the crop when you expect to get the best prices. It may be necessary to grow a variety of crops to diversify your source of income.


The date of seedling emergence depends on the variety of bean, the soil condition, and the altitude. It is expected that emergence will occur within 4-10 days. Flowering will commence after 28-35 days.

Varieties of French beans in Kenya

Newly introduced varieties include Amy, Teresa, Samantha, Julia, Pualista, Vernando, Tokai and Bakara. The varieties for fresh market include Amy, Pekara, Teresa, Paulista, Rexas, Samantha and Cupvert. Processing varieties are mainly Julia, Vernandon and Sasa.

Diseases of French Beans

The major disease of beans is rust caused by a fungus known as uromyces appendiculatus that is effectively controlled by Dithane M45 and Anvil. To reduce the incidence of this disease, it is recommended to avoid sprinkler irrigation that is responsible for wetting the leaves creating a favorable condition for rust.


In areas where furrow irrigation is practiced there is a high incidence of wilt due to a fungus known as fusarium oxysporum and nematode attacks.


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