Black eyed bean : Madagascar production of Black eye beans strenghtening

Madagascar Black eye beans : among the most imported commodities from Madagascar

We can observe lojy Black eye beans (or lojy bemaso) mainly grown in the regions of Sofia and Boeni, as well as other varieties of lojy: lojy mena, lojy fotsy.

Black eye beans belong to annual tropical herbaceous legume known as Vigna unguiculata or cowpea. The diversity of this species has led to the classification of the various varietal forms into several subspecies and 5 cultivars: Unguiculata, Biflora, Sesquipedalis, Textilis and Melanophtalamus, the black eyed peas categorized related to the first cultigroupe. Its full scientific name Vigna unguiculata.

A culture found throughout the world

Cowpea native to West Africa, belongs to the highest genetic diversity and the most primitive form of Black eye beans or Vigna unguiculata, certainly in this region which was the first home of domestication. Today, cowpea and its many varieties are cultivated mainly in tropical areas, the production basin is locaed between the regions of Sofia (districts of Port-Bergé and Mampikony), Ambato-Boeni (eastern part of the region) and Betsiboka (extreme north).

Black eyes place in agricultural and economic systems

The lojy black eyes grown in Madagascar is primarily a cash crop, intended for export, for Indo-Pakistani processing markets and of European mouth but it is also consumed locally. In addition, the crop has a significant role in feeding cattle through the remaining tops after harvest and in the quality of the soil because, as a legume, lojy Black eye beans brings nitrogen to the soil thanks to its root nodules on the ground.

Features of lojy Black eye beans grown in Madagascar.

Black eye beans grown in Madagascar is a hybrid with a fertile F1 generation.

The main features are erect feet of about 1m, two blooms giving large grains. The leaves are alternate, petiolate, trifoliate and rhomboidal in shape. There are two stipules at each node of the stem. The inflorescence is axillary and formed of a peduncle of about ten centimeters. The flowers are white. The pods of Black eye beans are indehiscent. A clove contains a dozen grains. The black eye beans grain is kidney-shaped, off-white in color, with a large black spot on the hilum. The grain can reach 1 cm in height, with a caliber allowing to obtain around 500 grains per 100 grams. From the 4th generation, there is degeneration of the plants: black eyes become creeping, with a larger vegetation, 3 blooms and grains of smaller size. The pods become dehiscent.

Technical itinerary for the culture of Black eye beans

Presentation of the cultivation zones: tanety and baiboho

Madagascar grows the lojy Black eye beans on 2 consecutive periods of the year. At first, during the rainy season and at secondly, the beginning of the dry season. The Tanety present in the north-west are tropical ferruginous soils, cultivated during the rainy season. They looks of a red color due to the presence of iron oxide and characteristics of the plateaus of the region. These behave fragile soils that a culture can quickly degrade, if no contribution made.

The baiboho are characteristic of the great alluvial plains of the West Coast (Mampikony, Port-Bergé, Ambato-Boeni, …). They have a predominantly silty texture (beating character), a massive and porous structure when wet. Baiboho are grown during recession, shortly after the exposure. This way, the plant has time to make roots likely to follow the decline in the water table but the presence of a sandy horizon can prevent this rise by capillarity, hence the need for rapid cultivation in some areas.

Steps to grow lojy Black eye beans

Whether in Asara or Fararano, the cultivation stages are unchanged:

1) Soil preparation,
2) plowing,
3) sowing,
4) hersage, “>4) harrowing,
5) weeding,
6) phytosanitary treatments,
7) harvest,
8) drying / threshing,
9) winnowing, sorting and bagging and possibly
10) storage.

The technical itinerary presented below corresponds to that practiced by the great majority of lojy black eyes producers of the region, that uses animal traction and most tasks are done manually. Exceptions – large mechanized farms, for example – do not present a radically different technical route.

1) Preparation of the plot before plowing

The planters  of Black eye beans prepare the plots by clearing with gory or fibarana followed by a burn. Work is more important in the tanety areas (presence of woody plants) than in the baiboho areas where the immersion of the land during the rainy season limits grassing.Tanety soil preparation can be done in November or December.

In Baiboho, the planters are dependent on the water withdrawal, so the beginning of the preparation of the land is dependent on its topographic position: the land tall begin cultivation earlier than lowland. This characteristic explains the spread over several months of the cultivation of lojy black eyes in the dry season: the cultivation can be done in March as well as in July according to the withdrawal of water.

2) The plowing

The plowing is done by animal traction of the plow. Furrows spaced 20 cm apart are formed by the first pass of the plow and a second pass
allows recovery. This stage is usually carried out with 2 plows in a row, the first digging the furrow that the second covers by the formation of a second furrow. Some farmers multiply the number of plows per hectare to speed up the establishment of the crop.

3) Seeding

Seedlings are made in the wake of the first plow, in line. Seedlings are both furrows. The recommended distance between seedlings is 40 cm (inter-furrow) per 20 cm (intra-furrow), which gives a seeding density of 25 kg / ha. The sowing density and the quality of the seed are sensitive points for the production of lojy black eyes (see the sensitive points).

4) Hersage

Depending on their financial capacity and weather permitting – late rains prevent the implementation of this operation – some planters harrow the plot to obtain a regular land and rid of the plots. This further facilitates the work of weeding.

5) Weeding

Weeding is done with angady 2 to 3 weeks after emergence. For the accomplishment of this tedious task the parcel is usually divided into equal sectors, distributed to the different persons employed.

6) Phytosanitary

The planters of Black eye beans use 16l sprayers for this operation. The planters start the treatments 2 weeks after sowing (if the seeds are not treated). More experienced technicians, trainers and farmers advise a frequency of one treatment per week (which returns the number of treatments to 8). According to the observations of the type of pests present on the crop, several phytosanitary products are available. Dilution depends on the concentration of the commercial product. The different treatments can be combined for more effective.

7) Harvesting pods

The harvest is done when the pods, arrived at mature, become dry. The harvest is done by with the foot in the ground, thus leaving the plant to feed the soil with nitrogen.

8) Drying and threshing

The pods are left to dry in the sun on mats or tarpaulins, then they are beaten to separate the seeds from the pods. If the hype is achieved too much strongly, it will result in broken grains thus generating loss. It is recommended to gently beat the pods with a short stick to avoid excessive movement.

9) Sorting, winnowing and bagging

The grains are then separated from the pods and then vanned to remove the remaining dust and sorted to discard broken, sick or eaten grains by pests. The winnowing is more or less long depending on the presence of wind: windy weather allows the particles and dust to separate grains more quickly. The dusted and sorted grains are then placed in bags awaiting sale.

10) Storage

In some cases, planters opt for storing their crop of Black eye beans while waiting for better prices on the market. This operation requires a place out of all pests with the possible addition of preventive treatments.

Yield per hectare

The yields per hectare depends on the people surveyed, which can range from single or double. One of the people surveyed with the technical itinerary that seemed to me to be best mastered told me that I could not exceed 1 t / ha, while most of the respondents indicated a yield approaching 2 t / ha. This strong variation in yield can be explained by soil variations according to the areas surveyed, the dosages of phytosanitary products practiced (under or overdose), the seeds used and the density of sowing.