The Pan African Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) celebrated its 25th anniversary in Kigali, highlighting approaches and solutions that improve livelihoods and food security in sub-Saharan Africa.
The anniversary was celebrated this September 5, 2022, ahead of AGRF 2022, currently held in Kigali, Rwanda, to promote bean research and consumption in Africa.
It was held under the theme “What a bean is: promoting and transforming beans in Africa through science and partnership in an ever-changing climate”.
Beans are a major source of food and livelihoods in Africa, and through its innovative partnership, PABRA brings together more than 934 partners who create and apply bean-related knowledge and technologies in 31 countries, including Rwanda.
In 25 years, the alliance shows that more than 37,000 bean varieties in Africa have seen an impressive transformation with resistance to diseases such as high iron, root rot, heat tolerance, drought tolerance and insect resistance.
They have been bred and deployed in 31 African countries through a networked international scientific collaboration.
PABRA has shown that farmers now earn an average of $1,000 and $500-$800 more per hectare with new beans under irrigated and rainfed conditions.
Claudia Sadoff, Executive Director of the Consortium of International Centers for Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a global partnership that brings together international organizations involved in food security research, said collaborations such as PABRA’s implementation platform have impacted the adoption and development of nutritious beans. in 31 countries.
For example, between 2004 and 2011, Rwandan farmers saw a 20% increase in the production of improved varieties and a 50% increase in productivity.
“Without the work of scientists and the availability of these nutritious beans, an additional 60 percent of Rwandan families would be food insecure,” Sadoff said.
“Our researchers were able to conduct research on capacity building in local seed production, especially in the field of finding new varieties.”
In 2016, the government adopted a new law regulating seeds and plant varieties in Rwanda and supporting ministerial orders governing the implementation of the law.
Currently, there are 14 private seed companies involved in seed production and marketing in Rwanda, which has set the sector in the right direction.
Dr. Patrick Karangwa – CEO of the Rwanda Agriculture and Livestock Development Board (RAB) said that through collaboration with PABRA, Rwanda has been able to develop systems that allow more farmers and consumers to benefit from beans, integrating value chains into local markets. , national and international impact.
“Using good agricultural practices, farmers can grow and sell enough beans for their families. This enables them to become economically empowered while feeding their families, community and others,” said Karangwa.
Jean Claude Rubyogo, director of PABRA, said the anniversary milestone is a privilege to celebrate and celebrate global bean breeding programs, a collaboration between Africa and Latin America through the global gene bank.
“Through the Future Seeds Initiative, we have saved more than 37,000 bean varieties. PABRA member countries have seen major changes in the bean value chain through technological innovations such as on-demand breeding where farmer and market preferred beans are grown,” said Rubyogo.
In addition, Rubyogo announced that they are pushing for bean commercialization to maximize bean trade in sub-Saharan Africa – through the Bean Corridor (via Malawi and Mozambique) – which could boost the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).
Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture Geraldine Mukeshimana, who moderated the 25-year celebration, said Bean initiatives, which bring together various stakeholders in the bean value chain, are a step towards increasing production for both markets and local consumption.
“Through this partnership, RAB has released 49 high yielding, early maturing, pest and disease resistant bean varieties, 18 of which are rich in iron (Fe) and zinc (zn),” Mukesimana said.
Mukeshimana emphasized that beans are not just food for the poor but are a healthy and nutritious food for everyone and a sustainable source of income as the seed is much needed for its rich protein package and environmental friendliness.
Michel Evéquoz, Deputy Regional Director of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), noted that with the experience gained, they will continue to support partners and research initiatives to improve food security in Africa, which is the main focus of AGRF2022.
Nalan Yüksel, head of Global Affairs Canada Corporation’s Pan African and regional development programs, said that their support to PABRA has affected women’s economic empowerment and well-being across key areas, thus, it is necessary to maintain relevance in mainstreaming gender in all of its activities.