Challenges and opportunities in common bean production and marketing in Botswana: Prospects and farmer’s perspectives
Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is the most consumed legume crop in the world, and one of the most consumed legume crops in Botswana. This study aims to identify constraints and opportunities in common beans production in order to enhance common bean production in the country. A survey was conducted among 287 farmers in two districts of Southern and Chobe with farmers selected by multi-stage sampling technique. The majority of farmers were female (66.1%), a few farmers planted common bean (11.5%). Slightly more than a quarter (27.8%) of farmers were above the age of 65 years. Constraints to production included pests and diseases, damage by animals, lack of labour, drought, and lack of seeds. Seven percent of farmers assumed that common bean was a drought tolerant crop and 33% of farmers said common bean taste better than other pulses. However, only 21% preferred to grow it. More farmers (13.2%) grew common bean in the Southern district than farmers in the Chobe district (7.0%). Farmers who grew common bean bought their seeds from Agro dealers (76%) with an average amount of 6kg of seed purchased at a time at an average price of $1.11 kg-1. Common bean was planted on 7% of the arable land that was planted. Most of the farmers (87%) were not trained in common bean production and received little or no assistance from extension officers resulting in little knowledge by farmers about the production of common beans. Strategies to create awareness are needed to facilitate access and mobilise farmers to adopt common beans to improve their livelihoods. This is particularly encouraged in agro-ecological zones such as Chobe with high yield producing potential. Development of seed systems and release of varieties tested in Botswana agro-ecological zones, would increase the production of common bean to improve food security and nutrition, and reduce import bill in Botswana.
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