Haricot bean is one of the most important grain legumes grown in the low lands of Ethiopia, particularly in the Rift Valley. In these areas, white pea beans are grown for export purposes as well as for domestic consumption. Haricot bean is also a principal food crop, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of Ethiopia.
Product Varieties: The varieties of haricot beans in use in the country include white, mixed, red, and other color types. The white haricot bean varieties are Mexican 142, Awash 1, and Awash Melka. The other types of haricot bean varieties include Key, Wolayta, Roba 1, Atendaba Brown, Speckled, Ayenew, Gofta, Zebra, Gobe Rash, Beshbesh, Melke, Tabor, Batagonia, Angeber, and TV.
Agro-Ecological Conditions: The altitude suitable for the growth of haricot bean ranges between 600 and 2,200m. The planting period for the haricot bean needs to be properly set such that the harvest period falls during the dry season or before the onset of the rainy periods with a suitable rainfall between 450-700mm. The duration from planting to harvesting, for areas with altitude of 1,000-1,700m, is 85-95 days, while for areas with altitudes of 1,500-2,200m the duration becomes 110 days. Concerning the white pea bean, it is sown from the end of June to mid-July, usually not intercropped, and harvested after three months in October.
Domestic Production: In year 2005/06, Ethiopia’s volume of main season haricot bean production was .24 million tons, accounting for 1.8% of major crops production. The lion’s share of haricot bean production in the country (during the period 2004-06) originated mainly from three regions: Oromia (65%), SNNPR (22%) and Amhara (11%). The main season yield of Haricot Bean, for the period 1998/99-2005/06, ranged from a low of 0.62 tons per hectare to a high of 0.94 tons per hectare. During this period, Haricot Bean yield levels averaged 0.82 tons per hectare
Commercialization: Throughout different regions, namely SNNPR, Eastern Hararghe and Western Ethiopia, white pea bean is consumed usually mixed with other cereals. In eastern and western Ethiopia, it is widely intercropped with maize and sorghum to supplement farmers with additional income. They are also consumed boiled, fried, milled, or grounded in the form of soups. Crop utilization survey data for haricot bean indicated that of the total national production of haricot bean, 69.87% was utilized for household consumption, 18.75% for sale; while the balance was used for seed; wage in kind, animal feed and other uses.
In general, earlier research estimates that, excluding the volume of grain set aside for consumption, seed and feed, 28 percent of total grain production (including oilseeds and pulses) is marketed, of which 29.8 percent is accounted by pulse crops in general. In general, the commercial grain supplies mainly come from the production of small farmers, private commercial farmers, state farmers, imports and food aid. The market participants in Haricot bean trade include producers (small holders and commercial farms), wholesalers, retailers, part-time farmer- traders, brokers, agents, assemblers, processors, cooperatives, EGTE, and consumers.
Global Scenario: White pea bean has become an important export item in the country’s pulse exports. In 2005/06 for instance, Ethiopia exported about 62, 262 tons of haricot beans /mainly white pea beans/ valued at about 22 million USD or about 193.7 million ETB, with a unit value of export of 353 USD/mt. The value of export was destined mainly to various countries such as: Sudan, Yemen, South Africa, UAE, USA, UK, Italy, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. The world production of dry beans was 18.3 million tons in 2004. World export of dry beans in 2004 totaled 1.3 billion USD and the volume of export was 3 million. Concerning imports, in 2004, the volume of world import of dry beans was 2.4 million tons, valued at 1.2 billion USD.
Prices: Based on available data of wholesale prices in Dire Dawa, Nazareth, Hosaina and Shashemene, the national average prices of haricot bean shows a rising trend during the 2004-06 period. This trend is explained by the fact that, apart from the home market consumption uses, haricot bean (especially white pea bean and red kidney bean) is highly exported to the overseas market.