ECHOcommunity Conversations

Jack beans as first cover crop

We are encouraging various NGOs to plant Jack beans to fertilise their soil.
But they are not found in many SSA places.
One NGO needs them in Uganda - any suggestions?
Another needs them In Kenya - any suggestions?

Graham Knight

Don’t know how many seeds ECHO has available right now, but I used a sample seed pack from them in some very poor soil. The Jack Beans were very prolific. I now have a couple gallons of seed and they are still producing.

Hi David,

That’s great. I assume you are in Uganda??

We need these Jack beans so small farmers can fertllize their soil.
Later they can use Jack beans to protect their crops from marauding animals.

Please email me at

I leanrt Jack beans can be inter-cropped with maize but it is climbing crop and it climbs and covers the maize unlike macuna. How do you solve the problem

Some Jack beans are bushes but I’m no expert.
The people that I am helping are often starving and are glad when the beans are harvested.
Some in Uganda are now so hungry they are eating the leaves!
Can find no charity that is concerned!

Graham K

The ECHO seed catalog for Asia (at least the 2017-2018 version) lists the variety Chiang Dao as bushy.

My suggestions is to utilizing those few interested NGO in Jack Beans planting and strengthen their capacity which will promote the Jack bean reach to other Ngos. Is it possible to get good supply for 50 -100 farmers. Or 50kg to 100 kg for atleast 100 farmers spread out across one region for demo farms ? Ngos can then see how its impact can be reached by several farmers planting elsewhere in their depleted soil across the region.

Hi Akuro,
It depends on the variety of Jack bean planted.
I suggest you use one that is White in color and not the brown one, since it doesn’t climb to cover the maize crop.
Another thing, you have to plant the Jack bean on the same day to maize.