Legumes and especially beans provide some of the most widely grown crops in the East and Central Africa region. The question of whether certain crops, specifically beans, are more beneficial to women than to men in relation to cash crops and other cereals, has been raised from time to time. In the central Africa region and in particular in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), bean production has been promoted in the recent years. Beans contribute to better nutrition and soil fertility improvement in the region. The economic benefits and costs associated with beans production has not received adequate attention at the household level while taking into consideration male and female farm actors. Based on beans, this paper examines the differentiated profitabilities and costs of production for beans at the household level, among male and female farmers in the South Kivu Province of the DRC. The paper uses results obtained from a survey of 160 farmers in 10 villages in the South Kivu Province of DRC. Data was collected on household characteristics, costs, prices and quantities associated with bean production. Regression analysis was used to assess factors that influence the observedbean gross margins and production costs among the households. The results indicate the average age of bean farmers is relatively low and that there is no significant difference between the profits received by men and women farmers in spite of men incurring relatively higher production costs than women farmers. the results also indicate that larger surfaces put under beans do not necessarily lead to higher gross margins. Market access had factors such as physical location of the farmers vis a vis markets influenced to raise the costs incurred in bean production for those farmers located much farther away from major markets. Farmers located in remote areas suffer higher production costs in acquiring inputs, usually at higher costs than those located in optimal locations. Interventions that would enable such farmers to affordably access productive inputs are likely to impact positively on the farmers’ economic welfare.
Key words: Bean production and marketing, South Kivu, gender, gross margins.
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