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Fabe Bean: Markets

World production, export and import data is not compiled for faba bean. Data for dry broad bean, which includes faba bean and Chinese broadbean, is reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The Chinese broadbean is consumed mainly as a vegetable. World production of dry broad bean ranged from 4.9 to 5.1 million tonnes from 2007-2011 with China producing (almost exclusively Chinese broadbean) almost half.

The major dry broad bean producing countries are shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3 - World production of broad bean and faba bean

World exports of dry broad bean have ranged from 0.71 - 0.67 million tonnes in the years from 2006 - 2010. Figure 4 describes the leading dry broad bean exporting countries. Most Canadian exports are to the United States (U.S.) and the Middle East.

Figure 4 - World export quantity in tonnes

World imports of dry broad bean have ranged from 0.81 - 0.77 million tonnes from 2006 - 2010. Figure 5 describes the leading dry broad bean importing countries with Egypt accounting for the majority.

Figure 5 - World import quantity in tonnes

Faba Bean Market Opportunities

Faba bean is sold into the human consumption and animal feed markets.

Human consumption markets exist largely in the Mediterranean and Middle East regions or Mediterranean ethnic markets of North America. These markets traditionally demand large-sized seeds with a size up to 650 g/1000 seeds.

The animal feed markets use faba bean as a source of protein and energy.

The faba bean has a protein content of 24-30 per cent. Feeding studies have shown that faba bean can be a good poultry feed, if supplemental methionine is added. It can replace soybean meal in rations for:

  • Pigs, weighing 80 lb. and over
  • Calves
  • Lactating dairy cows
  • Beef cattle 
  • Sheep 

Faba bean varieties used for animal feed usually have a smaller seed size to reduce the cost of seeding.

Recent varietal development for feed use includes low-tannin cultivars with reduced anti-nutritional factors such as trypsin inhibitors. Varietal development for feed in Saskatchewan is focused on producing varieties with seed size of 250-300 g/1000 seeds for use in either grain or silage form.

Faba bean is an excellent silage crop. Studies have shown growing dairy heifers and beef cattle gaining on faba bean silage at the same rate as animals on grass-legume silage. Dairy cows in heavy lactation have also performed well on faba bean silage.

Nutritional Characteristics

Table 1 - Nutrient composition of faba bean seed (per cent) 
Source: P. Burridge GRDC Australia 1999.

Protein . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24-30
Total starch (dry basis). . . . .35-39
Cystine acid  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.25-0.31
Lysine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1.48-1.61
Methionine  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0.17-0.19

Table 2 - The table shows the nutrient composition of milled and polished faba bean for human consumption per 100 g of edible dried whole seed
Source: World Crops: Cool Season Food Legumes; R.J. Summerfield; Klumer Academic Publishers 1988.

Protein . . . . .  25 g
Oil . . . . . . . . . . 1.2 g
Crude fibre . . .5.1 g
Dietary fibre . . n.d.
Starch  . . . . . . .51%
Iron . . . . . . . . . 4.2 mg
Thiamin . . . . . 0.45 mg
Riboflavin . . . .0.19 mg
Niacin . . . . . . . 2.4 mg
Energy . . . . . . 328 kCal

Oligosaccharides such as stachyose, raffinose and verbascose are prevalent in faba bean. These molecules contain glucose and galactose residues which can persist in sugar metabolism pathways in digestive tracts. They ferment and produce methane and other gases causing discomfort and abdominal pains.

Next: Growing Faba Bean

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