In Nicaragua, government policies have historically favored agro-export industries, such as coffee, cotton and sugar. In the early- 1990, the government began to implement policies favoring small-scale farmers cropping beans and maize. However, bean yields are still low. Since 1990, few studies have focused on Nicaragua's second most important crop, beans. This study analyzes record-keeping (RK) data collected from 15 small bean farmers located in the Carazo and Masaya regions. The study assesses costs and patterns of input and labor use and the profitability of bean production. Five farmers among the sample grew traditional bean varieties and ten modem farmers cropped improved bean varieties. The study found that the modem farmers intensively applied agrochemical input, while the traditional farmers applied only fertilizer and insecticide, and tended to substitute herbicide for manual weed control. Budget analysis showed that the modem farmers earned higher profits than the traditional farmers due to their higher yields. Bean yield was the most influential factor affecting profitability, while input and labor costs were not related to profitability. Regression analysis showed that the dummy variable "modem varieties", was the key variable affecting bean yield, and accounted for a 427kg/ha yield increase over traditional varieties. While promising, these results can not be generalized to the whole country - given the relatively small sample size and because farmers in only one region of the country were included in the sample. Thus, additional RK studies are recommended, and these studies should be carried out in other regions of the country and include more farmers.


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