Commercialization of agriculture provides farm households with a means to alleviate poverty and food insecurity in rural areas. This is due to the fact that commercialization increases farm household income and widens the ability to attain food diversity. In Rwanda, common bean is grown by a large proportion of the rural population for both domestic and market purposes. Based on the nutritional and agronomic attributes, there is rising national and regional demand for common bean. Since many households in Rwanda produce beans for consumption as well as for the market, this poses a tradeoff at the household level as to what proportion of bean produce to consume and market. There was need therefore, to determine factors influencing commercialization of common bean and its effects on household food sufficiency. The study used secondary data from 252 respondents chosen from five districts across the country. Data analysis was done using descriptive statistics, ANOVA and Double Hurdle model using SPSS 18 and STATA12 statistical packages. The results revealed that 41% of the farmers engaged in common bean commercialization where majority sold less than 100 kilograms. There were no significant effects of common bean commercialization on food self-sufficiency among farm households in different levels of commercialization. The study found out that age, number of livelihoods a household head engages in and quantity of beans produced influenced the decision to commercialize at 1% significance level. Further, level of satisfaction with market information and type of common beans influenced decision to commercialize common beans at 5%. The study revealed that quantity of beans produced, number of livelihoods of a household head, price per kilogram, distance to the market, duration of bean storage and group membership positively influenced the level of bean commercialization. On the other hand, number of crops a household cultivated and higher monthly income had negative influence on commercialization. The study recommends that stakeholders explore measures to improve skills of farmers to engage in other livelihood activities, increased beans production, collective action among farmers and effective flow of market information. Through these measures, smallholder farmers would offset pressure mainly piled on available food stock while farmers acquire enough agricultural income to ensure food sufficiency among households.

Background information 
Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy of Rwanda only seconding service sector. The sector supports close to 40% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employs 90% of the country’s active population and accounts for well over 60% of all exported goods in the country (BizCLIR, 2009; World Bank, 2011). The sector is the major player in the poverty reduction strategy in the country due to its role in national food self-sufficiency by producing almost 91% of food consumed (IMF, 2011). Agriculture, therefore, has contributed much to the exemplary economic performance of Rwanda’s economy. 

Over the years, the Government of Rwanda (GoR) has immensely supported the growth of the sector through increasing budgetary allocation and strategically positioning the sector in both medium and long term national goals. For instance, Rwanda Vision 2020 has half of its pillars aimed to directly boost agricultural production and widen markets (MINAGRI, 2011), the implementation of Crop Intensification Programs (CIP) and National Economic Development and Poverty Reduction strategies. Since the inception of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP); Rwanda committed itself to spend 10% of its budget on agriculture in order to grow the industry by 6%. This target has been achieved so far being the first country in Africa (CAADP, 2011). 

Despite the vital role agriculture contributes in the welfare of the Rwandans; the sector still experiences some challenges. The main challenge is high pressure exerted on land due to the rising population. This has reduced the average household land size to about 0.7 hectares per household (MINAGRI, 2009). The other challenge is over cultivation of land which has led to soil degradation and an estimated 40% of the cultivated land is in the steep slopes classified as soil erosion prone (MINAGRI, 2009). Like other Sub-Saharan countries, agriculture is still rain- fed hence the smallholder farmers face unpredictable rainy seasons and prolonged droughts. These pose major agricultural challenges to smallholder farmers who depend on agriculture as a major source of livelihood. 
Common bean production and consumption in Rwanda 

Common bean is among the most essential food crops in the entire Sub-Saharan Africa especially Rwanda. The pulse is considered as the staple food crop for more than 200 million people in Sub-Saharan region (Wortman et al., 2004). Broughton et al. (2003) estimated that a total of 2.8 million tons is produced from 4 million hectares planted annually across Africa. It is however recorded that 80% of the total produce is concentrated in only ten countries in Africa, (FAO, 2009). The leading producer countries are Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Angola and Burundi among others. It is estimated that close to 95% of the Rwandan households engage in common bean production thus making the country among the countries with high yields (FAO, 2008; FAO, 2011). 

In Rwanda, common bean occupy the largest area under food crop production cumulatively from many smallholder farmers. In 2013, a total of 438,236 tons of common bean was cultivated in an area of about 440,000 hectares which translates to 23% of total land under cultivation (MINAGRI, 2013). This is illustrated in Table 1 below. The rising common bean production is as a result of the shift from bush bean to high yielding and disease resistant climbing beans introduced in 1984 by CIAT and ISAR (Sperling and Muyaneza, 1995, MINAGRI, 2013). Smallholder farmers produce common bean, just like other food crops, with the purpose of home consumption, selling or both in order to boost their low incomes and food security (CIAT, 2008; CFSVA, 2012). 

The common bean market in Rwanda is competitive and risky due to its link to international market shocks (Rwirahira, 2009). It is documented that markets are functioning relatively well and food is flowing easily within and outside the country in great lakes regions (BizCLIR, 2009; CFSVA, 2012). Common bean is the highest food crop that has high net value. For instance Rwanda exported 20,000 tons of beans to Uganda out of the total 35,000 tons exported (USAID, 2013). With the integration of the country into East Africa Community, the demand is expected to increase. Some countries in the community have had common bean deficits like Kenya which goes to an extent of -362,899 tons in some period (MoA; 2009, Waluse, 2012). 

Further, the country observes high cross-border trade of commodities from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which is experiencing political instability. For instance it is recorded that Eastern provinces of DRC have daily consumption estimated at 300 grams per capita per day, which is higher than Rwanda’s per capita consumption of about 200 grams per day. This implies that local production faces extra demand pressure from outside the country. The smaller towns serve as collection centers and small markets in their own right (Blair et al., 2010). These movements of the grains across the region do not warrant storage of common bean due to comparative advantage. 

Common bean has special nutritional values that necessitate many households to adopt it as a major staple food for domestic purposes. The pulse is rich in quality globulin protein, energy, fiber and micronutrients especially iron, zinc and vitamin (ASARECA, 2012). It is further noted that the proteins found in common bean possess significant nutritional and health advantages for its consumers. Due to its nutritional value and affordability, the pulse is preferred more than the relatively expensive animal proteins. Furthermore, common bean provide close to 30% of dietary needs to all household income categories (ECABREN, 2000; Wortman et al., 2004; Kara et al., 2009). Besides, the pulse is served in meals with other foods like tubers, maize, plantains and rice among others. Separate parts of common bean crop like leaves, pods and grains are used as food while ashes from burned dried leaves and stems are used as ingredient in cooking (Katungi et al., 2009). From these attributes, common bean significantly help boost surging household food security and malnutrition cases (Ferris and Kaganzi, 2008). 

Apart from the pulse’s nutritional value, common bean matures relatively faster than other food staples and some species of beans are drought resistant and do well in areas of low rainfall (Natasha, 2011). The dried grains have long shelf life of about 3-4 years. This implies that grains can be utilized in almost every season and if in adequate supply can enable the household to reach the next season‘s harvest. It is however noted that the quality of the prolonged shelf life reduces the nutritional value; therefore green or freshly harvested beans have relatively more value (Njugunah et al., 1980; Katungi et al., 2009). 

Despite the pulse’s attributes as a potential food crop to alleviate food security, food insecurity and malnutrition is still felt among the smallholder farmers cultivating common beans. It is recorded that more than one-half of all Rwandans still live below the poverty line with the widening inequality gap (World Bank, 2005; MINALOC, 2011). Consequently, anemia and malnutrition still affect a large proportion of the population (CIAT, 2008; MINECOFIN, 2008). For instance, in 2010, 44% of children experienced stunting and 11% of children were underweight in Rwanda (NISR, 2011). Further it is revealed that more than half of all households report some type of difficulty in accessing food, close to 20% of households experienced acute difficulties in accessing food (CFSVA, 2012). This study sought to establish the interaction between commercialization and household food security among the smallholder farmers cultivating common beans. 

Statement of the problem 
There has been increasing demand for common beans as a source of protein both in Rwanda and the neighboring countries in the region. This is as a result of rising national population and the country’s integration into the East African Community (EAC) economic bloc. High demand has created the ready market for the farm produce of the households which consequently sustained increase in bean prices. As a result, smallholder farmers characterized by low household income have a tendency of engaging in commercialization of beans as source of income. On the other hand, common beans possess both important nutritional and agronomic values that could help mitigate the malnutrition and food insecurity experienced among these households. The demarcation between marketable surplus and produce for domestic use is not clear in most households. This is further aggravated by recent emphasis of market linkages and commercialization of agriculture that poses growing concerns that commercialization may take food away from the farm household. However, there is limited information as to the effect of common bean commercialization on household food sufficiency especially in areas where common bean is the main staple food in Rwanda. The study thus sought to explain this tradeoff while establishing factors that influence the decision to commercialize and the extent of commercialization in the pursuit of food security and household income. 

General objectives 
The general objective of this study was to contribute to the small household food security through analysis of commercialization and food sufficiency trade-off in Rwanda. 

Specific objectives 
1. To evaluate the utilization patterns of common beans among the smallholder farmers in Rwanda. 
2. To determine the effect of common bean commercialization on the household food sufficiency among the smallholder farmers. 
3. To determine the factors influencing decision to commercialize and level of common bean commercialization by smallholder farmers. 

Research questions 
1. How do the smallholder farmers utilize their common bean produce in Rwanda? 
2. What is the effect of common bean commercialization on household food sufficiency among smallholder farmers? 
3. What are the factors that influence the decision to commercialize and level of common bean commercialization among smallholder farmers? 

Justification of the study 
Rwanda is among the countries with efforts geared to alleviate food insecurity in its population and hence achieving millennium development goals. Bean production and consumption stand a better chance as a means towards achieving food security. With the recently launched East Africa Community (EAC) most farm households are subjected to international market shocks with multifaceted effects. This study was among the few studies which ventured into evaluating the effects of agricultural production for market and consumption tradeoffs. There was need to understand the effects of the markets on the food stock and its implication. 

The study aimed to evaluate the effect of farm household decision to either consume or sell the common bean produced on their household‘s welfare. The study revealed the importance of drawing a balance between commercialization effect on a staple food and its role in food security needs as the nation gears towards increased exportation. 

The study targeted to benefit farmers, policy makers and other development agencies which are addressing issues on food security among small holder farmers in the region. This was envisioned to be achieved by identifying the critical factors that influence the opportunity cost of selling beans over consuming. The result is expected to lead to improved household food sufficiency while achieving improved household income. 

Scope and limitation of the study 
The study featured on common bean smallholder farmers in selected districts across Rwanda. The sampling units were farm households whose some socio-economic and institutional features were selected for study in 2014. The decision on whether to commercialize beans or not and extent of commercialization were assumed to be in stages. 

Operational definition of terms 
Commercialization: is used to refer to the market oriented common bean production that leads to increased sales volume in relation to total common bean production 

Cross border trade: this refers to the exchange/movement of common beans from one region to the other that involves markets in the neighboring countries 

Crop diversification: is the farm practice where a farmer grows two or more crops on a piece of land. 

Food security: defined as a condition in which a farm household at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient food stocks to meet every individual food needs in the household. 

Food sufficiency: the study defines food sufficiency to imply household’s physical and monetary access to food stock to meet household food consumption needs. 

Household: defined as group of people bound together by joint production and consumption decision, living under same compound but answerable to one head person as decision maker. 

Malnutrition is a condition characterized by inadequate intake of protein, energy and micronutrients and by frequent infections and diseases. 

Smallholder farmers: are common bean farmers who own and/or lease land less than two acres. 

Tradeoffs: this refers to opportunity cost of either more consumption or marketing of the produce on household food sufficiency and household income.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 64 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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