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The Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union is a registered farmers' Union. It was started on the initiative of large scale indigenous commercial farmers who entered the business of commercial farming after independence.The Union operated as an association from 1990 until it was registered as the Indigenous Commercial Farmer Union in 1996. The union has since changed its name to Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (Z.C.F.U), and its mandate is now to serve commercial farmers irrespective of the size of the farm.


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Sugar bean production

SUGAR BEAN PRODUCTION GUIDELINES:
Farming can be a rewarding venture if the appropriate crop is planted in the right regions at the right time with the right inputs. Sugar beans are one of the few crops in Zimbabwe which have a four figure producer price. Sugar beans have a very huge market as they are consumed by every household and large institutions such as boarding schools and prisons. This guide has been designed to assist the ambitious farmer who desires to venture or improve the production of his sugar beans. The guide will cover farming regions, climatic requirements, cultivation practices, pest and weed control, and harvesting.

Climatic requirements

Sugar beans are an annual crop which thrives in warm climates. It grows optimally at temperatures between 18-24 oC. The maximum temperature during flowering should not exceed 30 oC. High temperatures during the flowering stage leads to abscission of flowers and poor pod set, resulting in yield loss. Day temperatures below 20 oC will delay maturity and cause empty or immature pods. Sugar beans should be cultivated under rain-fed conditions which record a minimum of 400 to 500 mm rainfall during the rain season. However, an annual rainfall total of 600 to 650 mm is considered ideal.

Soil requirements

Beans have to be planted in warm soil (minimum temperatures preferably above 13 oC) after all danger of frost has passed. Beans grow well in soils with a depth of at least 90 cm, which have no nutrient deficiencies and are well drained. Sandy loam, sandy clay loam, or clay loam with clay content of between 15 and 35 % is suitable. With sandy soils, problems of low fertility or nematode damage may occur.

Seedbed preparation for planting of dry beans follows the same pattern as that for any crop planted in the spring. The seedbed must be deep, level and firm as this ensures better surface contact between the seed and the soil, increasing the absorption of moisture. A level seedbed also facilitates planting to a uniform depth...Read more