Bean threshers transforming post-harvest and food safety handling in Kenya
Boaz Waswa, Josey Kamanda, Justin Mabeya, Eileen Nchanji, David Karanja, Patricia Onyango, Owen Kimani
She wonders why she has to go through the tedious ritual of hitting the bean harvest using sticks to put food on her family’s table!
“My hands are hard and blistered because I have to use this stick to thresh the beans after harvesting. It takes too long to finish the work, and I do not have sufficient energy to do it at my age”, said Jane Chepkwony, a farmer from Gorgor, Bomet County looking at the pile of beans harvested from the three-acre piece of land waiting to be threshed.
This is the dilemma thousands of bean farmers, especially women and youth, face every harvest season. Without mechanization, the farmer has to rely on family labor or expensive hired labor to thresh beans.
Bean is an important crop contributing to food and nutrition security, incomes for thousands of smallholder farmers especially women, observes David Karanja, the National Bean Program Coordinator. KALRO has developed bean varieties rich in Iron and Zinc, which, if consumed, will reduce malnutrition, mainly anaemia, stunting, and reduced immunity. Our research and development work aims to encourage the wider production and consumption of these beans. But high labor costs especially at harvesting could stand in the way of achieving the goal of putting nutritious foods on the table.