Jack beans as a main crop

For many hungry subsistence farmers Jack beans are proving essential!
In several SSA countries they are being grown by hundreds of farmers as they not only fertilise the soil but can provide food when there is nothing else!
Perhaps even more importantly they will provide some income when harvested!
Later other crops will be grown.

If you wish to know more contact, Graham Knight, BioDesign at


Hi, Graham. I think it would be very helpful if you could share details on the stage of harvest for the jack beans, the cooking time and any other key food preparation steps these farmers are carrying out. I say this as someone who once endured some violent vomiting after eating mature jackbeans that had been boiled for a while. But, how long the boiling was—I don’t know. I do know that jackbeans proved that they could endure 6 month dry seasons in northern Belize and they did give a fertility response in succeeding corn crops.
Tom Post

Our 1000+ subsistence farmers have yet to harvest their JB crop.
But one group, who were starving, decided to cook some that had been bought for sowing.
The result was so awful that they threw it away!

If you look around the ECHO website you will discover that JB have been germinated for tests done for USAid in Mozambique and shown they can be"delicious"!.
Graham Knight

1 Like

Here is the link to the original Feed the Future & USAID doc that describes the detoxification process. The EDN article by Dawn Berkelaar is a summary of this document and shares photos of the detoxification process (through germination then boiling) we replicated here at ECHO, FL.

1 Like


That’s a great question regarding getting sick. To keep this simple, jack beans are a legume. All legumes have a protein called tripense inhibitor. This reduces the biological activity by controlling the activation and catalytic reactions of this protein which interferes with naturally digestion process. Thus may people get sick from not properly cooking legumes all over the world. Education is needed to ensure these high protein crops can be consumed safely.

Further information on jack beans being utilized in Africa can be read in this link here. It also discusses how to prepare them properly and safely for human consumption.

Finally, thank you Graham for being continuing the clamor for small-scale farmers to use jack beans.

Be blessed,

1 Like

It seems little recognized that by sowing Jack beans small farmers can start their own agro-ecology!
It overcomes many of the problems found with the usual CA techniques and can deter wandering animals so often found in SSA countries.

Graham Knight

1 Like


Sounds like a research paper is needed on this subject.

Let me know I how I can assist.


Hi David,

Any research must help!
What did you have in mind?


Many subsistence farmers are interested in the JB and more research on it will be good.

Dear Alfred,
It looks as If I somehow missed your original message.

Do I gather you have an NGO?
It might be best to email me at biodesigndiy@gmail.com

1 Like

Some additional resources which may be of interest have been added to the ECHOcommunity collection on Jack Bean .

1 Like

Hi Grahams.

Can Jack beans grow well in heavy rain or rainy areas such as Niger Delta area of Nigeria?

There are commercial sources of jack bean seed in Brazil, where it is called “feijao de porco” (“pig bean”) including:



Great question Akpobome Agadaigho,

Yes! Jack bean grows very well in heavy rain, and prefers hot, humid climates. But it also does with as little as 600mm of rain over it’s growing season. Here is some data from research done by the ECHO Asia team in several countries in the region.

Here is a graph of the monthly rainfall at each of five trial sites (countries) where legumes were evaluated.

And here is a bar graph of the dry matter production (metric tonnes/hectare) for legumes trialed in each of five countries. Jack bean is the blue bar for each of the countries.

To read more about green manure cover crops and this trial, read ECHO Best Practice Note 7

1 Like

Dear Graham
Greetings from Malawi.Ruraleducation is a Non Governmental Organisation and works on sustainable Agriculture with small holder farmers we would want to partner you and grow jack beans
Please let me know on how we can achieve this

_Dear Mtekela_Mkanda Brown,

I am unable to find your organisation details so it would be best if

you emailed me at biodesigndiy@gmail.com
We can then send you a pdf giving full details of the JB Project.
Graham Knight

Dear Graham
My organisations contact details are ruraleducations@yahoo.com or else ruraleducation37@gmail.com

Looking forward to hearing from you



Dear Graham
We are a Non Governmental Organisation in Malawi.and supports small holder farmers .We would want to partner you on the beans project we are new here we dont know how we can go about the project
Please share us more on ruraleducation37@gmail.com or else ruraleducations@yahoo.com
Looking forward to hearing from you

I need some Jack beans and any other legumes that can grow well in rainy southern Nigeria, to give to farmers for planting. Please how can I get them from this echo website?

ECHO’s global seed bank can be found here. You can order seeds on this page. ECHO is not a seed supplier. Our seed bank offers trial packet of seeds for you to plant and assess for your specific context. If you need bulk seed, contact local agrodealers orr seed suppliers.

In order to select which GMCCs may be best for you, try our interactive GMCC selection tool.