Uganda’s bean exports grow as markets expand

A woman removes beans from their pods. Statistics show that the country witnessed an increase in the tonnes of beans exported. Photo by Faiswal Kasirye

What you need to know:

75.6 per cent of the country’s beans were exported to DR Congo between 2012 and 2013.

Beans exports to different destinations have experienced a tremendous growth of 148 per cent, a scenario projected to boost local production according to experts.

Between 2012 and 2013, revenue collected from the beans exports to the DRC according to market information from the Uganda Export Promotion Board earned the country $1.15 million (Shs3 billion) out of the total $1.42 million (Shs3.7 billion) exports.

“This performance saw DRC Congo take the lion’s share of about 75.6 per cent of the country’s exports,” Mr Moses Mabala, the trade promotion officer at UEPB noted.

Mr Mabala attributes this performance to a number of reasons mainly DR Congo’s proximity to Uganda and less restriction as they consume the species mainly grown in Uganda like kidney beans.
Other markets
He, however, noted that there are other emerging markets as per the number of inquiries UEPB receives on a daily basis from Pakistan.

“Pakistan is fast emerging as the preferred destination for Uganda’s beans exports opportunity and farmers should tap it,” Mr Mabala advised.

According to the UEPB report, last year, Pakistan imported beans worth $93,000 (Shs243 million) indicating a 6.1 per cent of the total export share for 2013.

Other export destinations include Rwanda whose imports earned Uganda $94,000 (Shs246 million) and the United States which imported beans worth $84,000 (Shs220 million).
Facts about beans
Beans are the most important legume for human consumption in the world. They are estimated to be the second most important source of dietary protein and the third most important source of calories.

According to a United Nations Development Programme value chain analysis of the bean sector, global estimates show that about 20 million metric tons of beans are produced annually with a market value of $10 billion (Shs26 trillion).

The leading countries in the production of beans in 2010 by volume were India, Brazil, Myanmar, USA and China.

In Africa, the leading producers of beans are Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya whose production volumes in 2010 were estimated at 950,000 metric tonnes, 455,000 metric tonnes and 390,598 metric tonnes respectively.

“In 2010, Uganda was ranked second highest producer of beans after Tanzania in the East Africa Community region,” the report noted. Globally, the leading countries in the production of beans in 2010 by volume were India, Brazil, Myanmar, USA and China.