North-South Collaboration: Cultivate Africa’s Future

Bean Varieties
Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Cultivate Africa’s Future (CultiAF), a four-year, CA$15 million fund, supports applied research to improve long-term food security in East and Southern Africa. CultiAF is funding seven projects in five countries of East and Southern Africa—Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The Fund is a joint program of the Australian International Food Security Research Centre—part of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research—and Canada’s International Development Research Centre.

Using Canada’s comparative advantage in food technology, one of CultiAF projects, “Pre-cooked beans for improving food and nutrition security and income generation in Kenya and Uganda”, is leveraging on this expertise through project partners, to provide innovative solutions to food security by working with a Canadian organization, the Food Development Centre that is part of the government of Manitoba. The Centre is providing expertise and services in product development and testing specifications for developing pre-cooked bean products. The aim of this project is to boost food security and nutrition security by availing pre-cooked bean products for low and middle-income households. This is expected to increase bean consumption, reduce women’s time spent on household cooking and wood fuel used, and create a larger, more lucrative market for smallholder bean farmers, majority of who are women.

The project team has tested 47 bean varieties for pre-cooking properties, 10 have been selected and nutritional analysis have been done on all 10. This is the first time a full nutritional profile of bean varieties is available in Kenya and Uganda.  The team has developed two types of products; pre-cooked beans and bean snacks. The bean snacks have been tested with consumers in major supermarkets in Kenya and Uganda. The project involves research scientists at the National Agricultural Research Organisations in Kenya and Uganda, Non-Governmental Organisations working directly with smallholder farmers to increase production of selected varieties and a private sector company, Lasting Solutions.

(Source, IDRCAgriculture and Food Security Program)

The Agriculture and Food Security Program supports research to improve food and income security for poor women and men in developing countries.