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French bean, Phaseolus vulgaris / Leguminosae (Fabaceae)
Its origin is somewhat uncertain. It is thought to be native to Asia, from where it would have been introduced into Europe in the very old times (Roman and Greek references).

The world-wide production amounts to 4.314.000 t, distributed by continents in the following way:

ContinentThousand tons
Africa311
Asia2,590
Europe1,030
North America253
Oceania53
South America77
Total4,314

Source: FAO Production Yearbook (1998)

The chief producing countries are:

CountryThousand tons
China1,200 (*) F
Turkey450
India400F
Spain250
Egypt210F
Italy193
The USA152F
France115F
Thailand85F
The Netherlands80F

Source: FAO Production Yearbook (1998)
(*) F: Value estimated by the FAO

The main producer is China (1,200,000 t) and Spain occupies the fourth place in the world-wide ranking of French bean production, totalling 250,000 t. 86% of the production is intended for consumption in fresh, 76% for the domestic market and 10% outside Spain. France is the main buyer, followed by the Netherlands and Germany.

247,562 tons are imported world-wide, according to data from 1999 of the FAO. The main import countries are, in the first place, Belgium and Luxembourg, followed by France and the Netherlands. The ten first world-wide importers are shown in the following table:

CountryTons
Belgium-Luxembourg44,719
France36,128
The Netherlands25,261
United Kingdom25,225
The USA24,031
Canada20,623
Germany17,790
Spain7,433
Singapore6,478
Italy6,302

Source: Faostat Database Results (1999) ( http://www.fao.org )

Spain imported in 1999 seven thousand four hundred and thirty three tons, placed in the 8th position of the world-wide imports.

The world-wide imports in 1999 amounted to 289,862 thousand dollars. France was the country with greater economical contribution in its imports, followed by the United Kingdom and the United States. The following table includes the ten first countries with greater capital contribution in their imports.

CountryThousand dollars
France60,667
United Kingdom55,389
The USA32,037
The Netherlands31,223
Germany22,756
Canada19,201
Belgium-Luxembourg19,115
Italy9,557
Spain4,691
Switzerland4,388

Source: Faostat Database Results (1999)

Spain occupies the ninth position with 4,691 thousand dollars in imports.

230,425 tons of French beans are exported world-wide according to data of the FAO from 1999. The main exporters are, in the first place, France, the United States and the Netherlands. The ten first world-wide exporters appear in the following table:

CountryTons
France34,941
The USA33,586
The Netherlands26,717
Spain24,330
Mexico18,903
Kenya18,124
Nigeria10,942
Jordan9,090
Malaysia6,753
Italy5,872

Source: Faostat Database Results (1999)

Spain exported in 1999 twenty-four thousand three hundred and thirty tons, which places it in the 4th position of the world-wide exports.

World-wide exports in 1999 amounted to 196,210 thousand dollars. Spain was the country with greater economical contribution in its exports, followed by Kenya and the United States. The following table shows the ten first countries with greater capital contribution:

CountryThousand dollars
Spain40,930
Kenya25,511
The USA24,527
Mexico18,057
France16,692
The Netherlands15,945
United Kingdom4,165
Nigeria3,635
Belgium-Luxembourg3,173
Nicaragua3,027

Source: Faostat Database Results (1999)

Spain occupies the first position with 40,930 thousand dollars in exports.

In Spain, the total surface dedicated to French bean culture is around 135,087 ha and the production estimated in 1999 by communities was as follows:

Type of beansAreaHectaresTons
Grain BeanGalicia40,39016,917
 Castilla y León4,7328,131
 Asturias2,6071,873
 Total52,70032,400
French beanAndalucía9,83396,530
 Cataluña1,64820,754
 La Rioja1,57718,998
 Total21,600222,700
BEANS TOTAL 135,087418,303

Source: La Horticultura Española (2001) Sech.
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