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 biodesigndiy@gmail.com

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.

This is an old thread, but if anyone in E. Africa would like Jackbean seed, I have Partners who can supply you with bush-type varieties that intercrop well with maize and cassava. In Kenya and Uganda, the current supply may be small, but in Tanzania we can sell you as many tons as you wish. If you can process an import permit to your country we can export them as well.



When inter-planting a strong twining plant with maize I personally wait until the maize is about 18in/33cm in height. This makes the stalk strong enough withstand the constrictions of the vines and tall enough not to be shaded. This works well with running or pole snap beans and forage heavy cowpeas but I have not personally grown jack beans.
Another personal technique I favor for inter-cropping is the double row. The legume is planted in the narrow middle after the last plowing of it. This is a help to germination in dryer soils, suppresses weeds in the narrow middle and enables additional side-dressing nitrogen of the maize on the wide middle side without causing undue foliage growth and bloom delay in the legume. Do not plant the legume in the middle if it is likely to have standing water for more than a day.

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