• Healthier and Prosperous Africa: ‘AVISA’ Project launched for faster agriculture gains in seven countries

    Tanzanian Minister for Agriculture calls for more public-private collaboration Greater yields, higher incomes, and improved livelihoods – these will be the results farmers in seven countries across Africa could get…

    Continue reading
  • Beans without Borders

    Beans are essential in sub-Saharan Africa. In East Africa alone, they are among the most-traded commodity. Dr. Clare Mukankusi, Regional Bean Breeder My dream has always been to reach the poorest in Africa through science. And now, as a “doctor of plants,” as my children call me, I help regulate the flow of beans between the world’s largest bean genebank in Colombia and many countries in Africa.  Beans are essential in sub-Saharan Africa. In East Africa alone, they are among the most-traded commodity, and a meal is often considered incomplete without them. In many African countries, every woman, with only a very small piece of land, can grow and sell beans, to put a nutritious meal on the table.  Thanks to decades of research, we have already made huge progress in improving beans. They are now more nutritious and affordable, and the plants are more productive and hardy in the face of heat and drought.   But if we’re going to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, we’re going to need to raise the bar even higher. That ’s why the 37,000 accessions at CIAT’s global bean collection in Colombia, and the 3,000 at our genebank in Uganda are at the heart of the work of PABRA to improve beans for the continent.   As a breeder, I rely on genetic diversity to make progress. If one bean variety is lost forever, we might never know how its unique attributes could have helped us – and future generations – tackle specific challenges, especially in light of future threats like weather extremes.

    Continue reading
  • Business Unusual

    I’ve already seen how small changes in eating habits can be life-changing. I’m passionate about working in nutrition. I do what I do because I know how it feels when everybody looks the other way. I was a “preemie” – a premature baby. Weighing a mere 1.08 kg and anaemic, the doctors gave me 72 hours to live. But I’m still here; against all the odds I survived,and now I want to be part of the solution. As a nutritionist, I cannot look the other way while women and children are dying ofanaemia and malnutrition on our watch. Worldwide, malnutrition is responsible for almost half of the deaths of children under the age of five. Some 90 percent of thoseoccur in 34 countries; 22 of which are in Africa. Although malnutrition has multiple causes, I strongly believe the root of theproblem in Africa is due to dysfunctional food systems that fail to provide the right nutrients in the right quantities in orderfor people of all ages to thrive. This has to change. Fortunately, nutrition has become accepted as a global priority – it even has its own Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). But if we’re going to meet SDG3 – for good health and well being – we’re going to need less business-as-usual, and more unusual business. First, we need to radically rethink the concept of food security, and focus on nutrition security as well. Having enoughcalories is not enough – we need better food production and distribution systems that ensure everyone has equal access tosafe, diverse, and nutrient-dense foods, produced with minimal damage to our environment. Yes, it’s a tall order. For example, daily consumption of specially bred, high-iron beans can prevent and even reverse anaemia in women and children. That ’s a quick, effective response to a condition that can blight their entire lives – entire nations.

    Continue reading