Friday, 24 February 2012

Rwanda | Researchers meet over bean quality

International and local researchers are converged in Kigali for a weeklong workshop to find ways of improving the quality and volume of the beans produced regionally.

The workshop which begun February 13, will be a platform for sharing knowledge on beans and peas production as a way to fight malnutrition.
Officials from the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) that was instrumental in organizing the workshop said Rwanda was selected because of the increasing volumes of beans produced locally.
Rwanda has an unusually rare type of beans called climbing beans. The fifteen varieties, developed in 2010 by the Rwanda Agricultural Research Institute (ISAR) in collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), were billed at the time as of huge benefit to smallholder farmers in similar areas across Central and East Africa.
Unlike the more commonly-planted ‘bush beans’, the beans are resistant to legume diseases such as anthracnose, root rot and ascochyta, which are found in damp, higher altitude areas.
The new climbing beans are also higher yielding, producing triple and even quadruple the yields of bush beans. The beans can be cultivated up two metres-high stakes — ideal for countries such as Rwanda where space is scarce — and reduce soil erosion in sloping areas that experience heavy rain, according to ISAR.
Data for the period ending June last year shows that beans production was very high and Uganda was biggest destination for Rwandan beans.
Speaking at the workshop launch, RAB director general, Prof. Martin Shem NDABIKUNZE said: “Currently, Rwanda produces 3-5 tons of beans per hectare… Also Rwanda is the only country that has taken a big step in producing beans and peas of high quality in the region and both crops play a vital role in reducing malnutrition.”

Researchers meet over

The researchers in a group photo on first day of workshop


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