The azuki bean (Vigna angularis), also known as the adzuki bean or aduki bean, is widely grown throughout East Asia and the Himalayas for its small bean, approximately five millimetres long. They are a short season, summer crop (120 days from growing to harvest) and can be double cropped with cereals. The plant grows from 0.3 to 0.6 metres high and have yellow flowers. The cultivars most commonly grown have a uniform red coloured seed and with a distinctive white ridge on one side. However, white, black, grey and variously mottled-coloured varieties are also known.
The major global producers of azuki beans are Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan. The beans were first introduced to Australia in the 1970s and are produced in southern and central Queensland, the north coast of New South Wales and irrigated regions of southern and central New South Wales. It is a minor crop in Australia, on average producing less than 5,000 tonnes per year. Azuki beans are considered more demanding to produce than soybeans and mungbeans, and require more inputs than these crops.
Most of the beans produced in Australia are exported to volatile markets either in Japan, China or Taiwan where the beans are used to make a sweetened paste (ahn) that is made into a selection of products such as traditional confectionary (Wagashi), cakes and buns. A small proportion (approximately 800t, as at 2014) is used in the domestic market to produce similar products for the Asian community.
The azuki bean industry is very small in Australia and its operations are overseen by Pulse Australia, the peak industry body.
Facts and figures
- Azuki beans are a short season, summer pulse crop, they are a minor crop (less than 5000t) in Australia
- They are grown in southern and central Queensland, the north coast of New South Wales and irrigated regions of southern and central New South Wales
- They require good farmer skill level for production, they require more management and inputs than soybeans to produce
- Azuki beans are a high value pulse, marketed mainly into Japan but the Japanese markets can be volatile
Azuki beans are a summer growing pulse crop that is produced in southern and central Queensland, the north coast of New South Wales and irrigated regions of southern and central New South Wales. It is a minor crop in Australia, producing on average under 5,000t a year.