If you’re a lover of agro-business or into farming, starting beans farming business might prove a very lucrative choice in the long run.
The truth is that beans farming involves a lot of work and you’ll need a good amount of capital if you intend to start on a large scale as you’ll need to purchase or lease land (if you don’t already have one) and buy beans.
If you have the money, you can hire labourers and they will take care of all the hard work while your money works for you. But if you don’t have the necessary capital for this, then get ready to get your hands and entire body dirty.
Not to scare you, I have also worked on beans farm. While it involves a lot of effort, it is not entirely impossible or the hardest farm work there is.
This post is intended to guide you on how to start your own beans farming business in South Africa gathered from my own personal experiences as well as those of many others.
The post details the steps involved in beans farming, the stress, the market and how to make money from beans farming without actually getting involved in all the hard work.
Things You’ll Need to Set Up Your Beans Farming Business in South Africa
I’ll discuss the things you’ll need to start your beans farming business in South Africa under three broad headings, which are termed the factors of production:
The land is where you’ll be growing your beans. It is very important that you get a piece of land in a state with fertile soil and a good amount of rainfall.
Most times, this tends to points to states within the middle belt of South Africa as well as those in the southern part of the country. The truth, however, is that beans will grow well in almost any part of the country as it has the ability to naturally fix nitrogen into the soil with the aid of the fungi within it root nodules.
Most times, you may want to choose land that is easily accessible, especially if you’re planning on using machines to work on the land or drive to your farm to work on it. In either case, having an accessible land is advantageous as it helps you move easily in and out of your farm. This may not seem like much in the beginning but it can become a huge advantage in the long.
This section covers the amount of money you’ll need to spend to start up your beans farm. Most times in the village, it costs us nothing except labour to start our own beans farm. We already have pieces of family land and beans seeds are readily available from the previous harvest.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll need money to buy or lease the land you’ll need to cultivate as well as the beans seeds you’ll need to plant.
The ministry of agriculture is now selling some improved variety of beans and your best bet might be to buy one of their packaged seeds. Those are already treated to prevent birds from picking them up once you plant them.
If you’ll not be buying from the ministry of agriculture, you might want to ensure you tell the seller your intention before paying for any beans seed you intend to plant. Not all seeds will germinate once you plant them; many are just good enough for consumption and not planting.
So, the capital you’ll need to start your beans farming business will be the cost of land and the cost of beans seeds. You’ll also want to factor other things like the cost of labour and fertilizer.
Labour plays a crucial role in beans farming. All human efforts put into the production process is usually termed labour.
Beans farming involves lots of tiling, spraying of herbicides and harvesting, all of which will need to be done manually. You can actually do all of these by yourself if you have the strength and time, or outsource to others while you pay them for their services.
Starting Your Beans Farming Business in South Africa (Step By Step Guide)
Step 1: Preparing your land
Beans farming usually begins with land preparation. This is usually done a few weeks to the actual planting time.
Land preparation usually involves the clearing of bushes, stumping, making ridges. Beans seeds are best planted on ridges, though, you can plant them on heaps with either yam or cassava. Planting beans with cassava, however, doesn’t always yield as much as planting with yams or alone. This is because the cassava leaves tend to cover the beans leaves.
Step 2: Planting your seeds
It is mostly advised that you plant your beans at least 2-5cm deep for it to quickly germinate. The truth is that no one goes to the farm with a measuring tape to measure the depth of their bean’s seeds, that will mean more work and probably waste of precious time.
The technique for planting beans seed is quite easy; move on your ridges just the same way as you would normally work. Each time you drop your foot, make sure you make a hole with your heel (it should not be too deep), put 3-4 bean seeds in the hole and push sand with your feet to cover it.
Ensure you cover the seeds very well as birds will come to the farm to peck on them almost immediately you leave. You can further prevent this by mixing the beans with an insect resistant medicine.
Step 3: Weeding and fertilizing
Once you’ve planted your beans, you’ll need to give it a few days to germinate. And then wait further for weeds to grow on the farm. Once the weeds start competing with your beans for water, air, and nutrients (if they are becoming as tall as your beans), you’ll need to clear them.
Weed clearing can be done manually with either holes or cutlasses, or you can buy a knapsack sprayer with herbicides to spray and kill the weeds. Ensure you buy the selective type of weed killers, else you run the risk of killing your beans as well ( a little touch is all it needs).
There are many ways of applying fertilizer, but the ring method is the most preferred style for beans. You can do this by using a stick to make a hole close to the root of the beans and then fetch a teaspoonful of the fertilizer and pour into the hole, you don’t have to cover the hole after application. Ensure the fertilizer does not come in contact with the roots as it will kill the young beans plant.
Step 4: Harvesting
Once all the above are completed, the next step is to wait for the beans to mature and get dried. This usually happens in the harmattan season. At this time, the beans will be ready for harvest. Beans harvest typically involves going through your farm and cutting the beans from the plant.
Once harvested, you’ll need to pound the beans, remove it from the chaff before you can sell it in the market. The chaff can be used to feed farm animals or sold to cattle rearers.
How to Make Money From Beans Farming Business without Actually Farming
You can also make money from beans without actually farming it. In most cases, this would involve visiting farming areas where beans is usually sold very cheaply in the market and buying them in bulk, then selling them in cities like Durban, Johannesburg and Port Harcourt at a higher price for profits.