Legumes are important food and cash crops in developing countries. In Tanzania, more than half the farmers grow several species of grain legumes which include common bean, groundnut, pigeon pea, cowpea, chickpea, peas and soybean. However, productivity of all grain legumes is still low and far below potential and this has impacted on profitability. The aim of this study was to contribute to common bean improved profitability facts for income and food security in Tanzania. The specific objectives were; to measure the common bean on-farm gross margin realized by smallholder farmers, examine the socio-economic factors determining common bean on-farm level gross margin and to determine factors influencing the household common bean supply to the market. Multistage sampling procedure was used to select the respondents from the four divisions in Babati district (Babati, Gorowa, Mbugwe and Bashnet). The first stage involved a purposive selection of two divisions from the four divisions mentioned. The second stage entailed the selection of six wards from the two divisions, using purposive sampling technique; four from Bashnet division and two from Babati division. The fourth stage entailed purposive selection of 9 villages from the six wards basing on bean production dominance. Then the final stage employed systematic random sampling technique to select 200 bean farmers from the nine villages. Primary data was collected from the field using a structured interview schedule method. Secondary data such as national and world common bean production trend; Tanzania common bean export and import were obtained from published literature from Babati district council, Sokoine National Agricultural Library and Egerton University main library. In analysis of data; objective one was analysed using Gross Margin Analysis procedure. Moreover, objective two was analysed using Multiple Regression Analysis approach. Lastly, objective three was analyzed using Logistic Regression method. The study results showed that, at farm level, a gross margin of TZS 133,710.20/= (US$63.67) and TZS 307,283.70/= (US$146.33) for local and improved variety respectively was generated per acre per season. Moreover, age of respondents; gender; yield; selling price (farm-gate price); access to credit; and off-farm income affected the gross margin realized by smallholder farmers. Similarly, age of respondents; gender; family size; education level (years of schooling); farm-gate price; distance to the market; and off-farm income influenced the quantity of bean supplied to the market. This implies that, if this study is positively recognized by bean industry stakeholders, it may significantly contribute as a source of information for improving bean profitability and food security.

Background information 
Agriculture plays a fundamentally important role in the economic growth and development prospects of a vast majority of developing countries including Tanzania (WTO, 2000). The sector contributes almost a quarter of Gross Domestic Product (24.1%) and employs 75% of the active labour force in Tanzania (Economic Survey, 2011 and URT, 2013). Amongst the important agricultural subsectors in Tanzania are livestock, fishery, agro-forestry and crops (URT, 2013). The major food crops in the country include maize, sorghum, millet, rice, wheat, cassava, potatoes, bananas and legumes (OECD/ADB, 2012). Moreover, the principal export crops include coffee, tea, cotton, cashew nuts, sisal, oil seeds, horticultural crops, pyrethrum, fresh cut flowers, cloves and spices (UNESCO, 2011). 

Legumes represent an important component of agricultural food crops in developing countries as they complement cereal crops as a source of protein and minerals especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (Akibode, 2011). Grain legumes also serve as rotation crops with cereals, reducing soil pathogens and supplying nitrogen to the cereal crop (Beebe, undated). Food legume crops are considered vital crops for achieving food and nutritional security for both poor producers and consumers (ICRISAT, 2012). Food legumes as well play an important role as a source of animal feed in smallholder livestock systems (ibid). Food legumes moreover have higher prices, compared to cereals, and are increasingly grown to supplement farmers’ incomes (Gowda et al., 2009 and Giller, 2012). 

One of the important legume crops grown in Tanzania is common bean. Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is the most important food legume for direct consumption and as a source of farm income in Tanzania (NBS, 2012). In the country, beans are often cultivated by smallholder farmers for food consumption without the use of fertilizers where quarter to one- third of the households sell their beans (Ndakidemi et al., 2006), with around 20% surplus being marketed (FAO, 2005). Common bean is a popular crop among small-scale farmers because beans are a short duration crop (2.5-4 months) which permits production even when rainfall is erratic (CIAT, 2008). This helps in shortening the hunger periods as well as for providing quick cash (ibid). 
The average bean productivity in Tanzania is around 662 kg/ha (Ndakidemi et al., 2006). However, the potential productivity under reliable rain-fed conditions, using improved varieties under proper crop and land husbandry is 1,500–3,000 kg/ha (ibid). Table 1 below shows that in 2013 the country produced 1,150,000 MT on 1,300,000 Ha of land (FAO, 2014).

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