Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Ciat@50 Celebrates the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA).

29-30 May 2017. Nairobi. Ciat@50 Celebrations. CIAT is celebrating 50 years of agricultural research and development impact. Throughout 2017, CIAT celebrates the amazing people behind CIAT’s achievements, hundreds of partners around the world, and its donors.

On this occasion, CIAT also celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Pan-Africa Bean Research
Alliance (PABRA).
  • PABRA’s bean breeding programs are closely integrated with CIAT’s program at its headquarters in Cali, Colombia, which hosts the largest Phaseolus bean genebank in the world, containing over 37,000 bean types. 
  • Beans with high iron, resistance to diseases such as root rots, heat tolerance, drought tolerance, tolerance to soil problems, and insect resilience, are uniquely bred in Colombia, or made available to PABRA’s partners. 
  • This represents huge potential: for example, using Phaseolus coccineus, the scarlet runner bean, researchers in Rwanda continue to breed beans with even higher levels of acid soil tolerance of up to pH 4 – which could dramatically improve yields in environments in western Rwanda, northern Zambia, and other countries. 
Extract of the programme:
Building a sustainable food future in Africa.
  • John Sibi-Okumu, Master of Ceremony: Introduction to guests and program overview
  • Dr. Ruben Echeverría, CIAT Director General – Setting the scene: CIAT at 50 and PABRA at 20 highlights
  • Sara Menker, CEO and Founder, Gro Intelligence / Member of CIAT Board of Trustees – The power of information
  • Dr. Debisi Araba, CIAT Regional Director for Africa – Regional vision for Africa: the next 50 years
  • Mercy Lung’aho, CIAT Nutritionist
  • Debisi Araba, Regional Director for Africa
  • Olufunso Somorin, Senior Policy Officer, Transition Support Fragile States Department, African Development Bank
  • Prof. Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources & Regional Development, Kenya

Building a more robust food system in the face of conflict and climate change
  • Pitch by Dr. Robin Buruchara, Director, Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA)
  • Panel discussion facilitated by John Sibi-Okumu
  • Dr. Ladisy Komba Chengula, Lead Agriultural Economist, Agriculture Global Practice, World Bank
  • Mr. Peter Mlegulah, Production Manager, Raphael Group Limited, Tanzania
  • Ms. Khalila Salim, Business Leader, Strategic partnerships, Mastercard Labs for Financial Inclusion, Kenya
  • Dr. Robin Buruchara, Director, Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA)

PABRA. 2017. PABRA Annual Report 2016/2017 - 20th Anniversary Special Edition . Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance - PABRA . Nairobi, KE. 41 p.
The new Commodity Corridor approach of CIAT, explained in these pages, is an example of how we continue to strengthen our focus, leveraging our research results to provide better beans for our farmers and consumers. Significant challenges block the road to improved production – not least because beans are not recognized as they should be in climate policy, in nutrition programs, in health initiatives. Yet the CIAT research shows that when farmers grow improved beans, they can expect yield increases in their fields; extra income in their pockets, and more nutritious meals on their tables. 

Launched by PABRA in early 2016, the Open Data Kit is a mobile-based platform which allows field data to be collected offline, and then loaded into a central database later when an internet connection is established, making it smarter than previous versions. The data is sent to a central database, instantly accessible to anyone else in the PABRA team by smartphone. To date, the Kit has been used by researchers to monitor improvements in yield of specific bean varieties for example. It also collects important information about bean producers and bean plot soil samples, as well as seed amount sown, harvested, sold and the location of participating shops and markets selling farmers fertilizer and other inputs.

  • START DATE: October 1, 2014
  • END DATE: March 31, 2017
  • DURATION: 30 months
The project started by pre-screening bean varieties for their suitability for precooking. Seed companies and community seed producers will ensure sufficient seed of good varieties is available and promoted to farmers, who will also be trained in field and post-harvest management. The research team tested different supply models—including working with farmer groups and contract farming—for their ability to supply needed volumes and benefit women smallholder farmers. The research involved farmers’ federations in both countries and Smart Logistics, a private, women-owned company in Kenya.

Two private sector project partners—Lasting Solutions, Uganda and Fresh Del Monte, Kenya—developed prototype products and packaging for market testing. Consumer research determined package sizes and prices and assess potential demand. The research analyzed the gender implications of the new technology, to ensure that men, women and the youth are fully integrated in the development of the precooked bean value chain. The work also contributed to the formulation of standards for precooked beans.

Dec 16, 2016 | Reuters | Pre-cooked beans could turn down heat on Africa's dwindling forests

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