FLAGSHIP PROGRAM 6 (FP6): Common Bean for Markets and Nutrition

Progress during 2021, 2020, 2019

FP6: Food and nutrition security, greater wellbeing and the alleviation of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America has been and will continue to be enhanced through exploiting the genetic diversity of the Phaseolus genus, the application of crop management practices, and improved market linkages.

In CIAT’s new administrative structure as a partner in the Alliance of Biodiversity and CIAT (ABC), the Bean Program continues to develop varieties with more resilience, market value and greater nutritional value (the latter activity performed in partnership with HarvestPlus). The Bean Program activities in Africa are channeled through the Pan-African Bean Research Alliance (PABRA), an ABC-facilitated consortium of research institutions and bean value chain actors in 31 countries who use beans to achieve their development goal. Beans remain a staple food and their consumption is increasing in Africa and Latin America. Many governments are even beginning to prioritize the crop for food and nutrition security and economic growth. For instance, currently many countries in Africa and Latin America have incorporated biofortification in their nutrition policies, which will contribute to a sustainable and cost-effective strategy to address malnutrition.

The bean breeding program mainly depends on the gene banks’ diverse accessions of the bean. Much higher levels of iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) in seed grain derived from wild species of Phaseolus have been confirmed. In addition, business platforms bring actors along the value chain together to improve input and output market channels and give feedback to researchers. The progress made so far is very encouraging. For instance, with the MasterCard Foundation’s support, farmers can now receive payments for beans the moment the harvest is delivered at a collection point. This new step in linking farmers to markets assures that the economic benefits of production are immediate. Currently, foresight studies are underway to refine the targets for research, both on the socioeconomic front and to meet the challenges of climate change.

The objectives of FP6 are to:

  • Improve bean breeding efficiency that aims at the release of farmer- and consumer-preferred varieties;
  • Improve input and output market channels that aim at the wider use of improved varieties and incentivize bean farmers and value chain actors; and
  • Generate an evidence base and engage policy and decision makers in prioritizing beans in their food/nutrition and economy growth investments.

Key outputs

  • Current and future consumer/market demand and farmer variety preferences better understood
  • Climate resilient-, consumer- and farmer-preferred varieties released
  • Accelerated and sustainable seed access established
  • Evidence-based research outputs to accelerate investments in bean value chains and nutrition

The Clusters of Activities include:

  1. Environmental and social characterization to create Product Profiles
  2. Germplasm studies, trait discovery, pre-breeding and enabling technologies
  3. Breeding pipelines for stress tolerant, market-ready beans
  4. Marketing, nutrition and impact assessment
  5. Going to scale with production technology: seed and crop management.
Global bean work

Global bean work

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