Dry Bean Production: The Bottom Line

FarmBiz|November 2019

Dry Bean Production: The Bottom Line
For the first time in many years the crop input costs for dry beans in South Africa has outweighed the average revenue, leading to concerns over the industry’s future.
Carin Venter

Damage to or complete loss of crops due to adverse weather conditions proved challenging. Unexpected rains hit dry bean producers when they least needed it – shortly before harvesting in March and April this year. This resulted in substantial damage, and the poor quality of the crops led to market uncertainty and unusually low prices.

The impact of the poor crop quality on the industry was discussed as a critical issue at the 14th Dry Bean Producers’ Congress, which took place in September this year. Vice-chairman of the Dry Bean Producers’ Organisation (DPO), Kobus du Preez, kicked off the event by welcoming the 180 delegates, who had traveled from all over the country to attend the congress.

Industry overview

The DPO is a commodity organization that acts in the interests of the dry bean industry in South Africa. It continuously strives to adapt to a changing market environment, with due cognizance of producers’ changing expectations and their increased access to information.

The DPO is managed by a national executive, which consists of representatives of the ten areas in the country that produce dry beans. These areas are Delmas/Nigel, Mpumalanga Central, Mpumalanga East, Lowveld, Free State East, Free State South, Free State Central, North West, Limpopo, and Olifantsrivier.

During his address at this year’s congress, the DPO’s general manager, Chris Kleingeld, gave a thorough rundown of the current situation. “There are currently approximately 900 dry bean producers,” he said. “The challenge, however, is that less than 100 dry bean producers are actively participating in the conversation to direct and improve the industry.”

Chris believes that, apart from potatoes, dry beans are one of the riskiest products to cultivate. “At the same time, I must say that the loyalty of our farmers is something to be very proud of, and it counts as a huge asset to our organization.”

Briefing everyone on the challenging situation currently being experienced by the industry, he remarked that there won’t be any surplus this year. “When calculating the current revenue of dry beans, the yield per hectare can be multiplied by the average market price. You will find that the dry bean industry cannot cover direct input costs.”

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November 2019