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Legumes - Beans

Improve common bean productivity for marginal environments in sub-Saharan Africa (G6010.03)

Beans HoL medThe main objective of this project is to select drought-tolerant genotypes through marker-assisted recurrent seleciton and advanced backcross using and enhancing sources of resistance in Andean and Mesoamerican genepools, respectively. Important insect and disease resistance for dryland environments are also also being incorporated into the drought-tolerant line crosses.

Bean plant A-in-A medCommon beans are the most important food legume for direct human consumption with 23m hectares grown worldwide. Over 200 million people in sub-Saharan Africa depend on the crop as a primary staple, with beans contributing to diet and incomes in over 24 countries in this region alone. Consumption is as high as 66 kg/year/person, and in many areas, common beans are the second most important source of calories after maize, as well being a major source of proteins and minerals in the diet.

Typical bean yields, however, represent only 20 to 30 percent of the genetic potential of improved varieties due to major production risks such as insect pests, diseases and drought, which – due to climate change – is increasing in severity and frequency in the region. Drought affects production of common beans in most of Eastern Africa, but is especially severe in the mid-altitudes of Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Zimbabwe, as well as in Southern Africa as a whole.

Target countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe
Lead institute: International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
  • Ethiopia: South Agricultural Research Institute (SARI)
  • Kenya: Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI)
  • Malawi: Department of Agricultural Research and Technical Services (DARTS)
  • Zimbabwe: Department of Reserch and Specialist Services (DR&SS)
  • Networks in Africa: 
    • Eastern and Central Africa Bean Research Network (ECABREN)
    • Southern Africa Bean Research Network (SABRN)
  • Other partners: Cornell University (USA)