The PABRA 2018 steering committee meeting was held at the Speke Resort Munyonyo, Uganda between the 20th and 22nd March 2018. Appropriately themed Bean Commodity Corridors as an Approach for Enhancing Productivity, Markets and Nutrition, the meeting brought together the PABRA secretariat and theme leaders, PABRA network coordinators, chairpersons from the three PABRA networks; SABRN, WECABREN and ECABREN, among other stakeholders.
Stanely Nkalubo, team leader of the Legume Research Program breeder at National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) and former ECABREN chairperson gave a warm welcome to the delegation and invited Jean Claude Rubuyogo, East and Central Africa Bean Research Network coordinator a chance to give an overview of the work in the region.
Dr. Robin Buruchara, PABRA director gave his remarks on the PABRA year 2017 and highlighted the achievements made in the year. He then invited Dr. Adebisi Araba to make his remarks on the vision that CIAT has for the future and the progress made so far as an institution.
The development partners from Canadian High Commission, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa got a chance to speak to the delegates about how they are supporting PABRA and partners. Ms. Susan Learoyd, First Secretary of the Canadian High Commission, noted that they have supported PABRA for ages and believes the meeting is an opportunity to review results and look at the major priority interventions for the coming year.
Dr Robin Buruchara, Director PABRA, expressed gratitude to PABRA partners for their vast and developing experiences on the achievements and commended 2017 as an interesting year despite the challenges encountered.
The director of the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) Godfrey Asea welcomed the delegation, especially those from outside of Uganda and invited Ambrose Agona, the director general of National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) to make his opening address.
NaCRRI director Godfrey Asea and NARO director general Ambrose Agona
Stanley Nkalubo, bean leader from NaCRRI gave research and development highlights from Uganda.
PABRA’s Eliud Birachi gave the delegates a taste of the bean market corridor approach and how it has been working across the PABRA nations. While presenting the IBPMA project, Dr Eliud Birachi, CIAT Rwanda, highlighted some milestones such as 3 bean corridors mapped and 42 platforms established with 47% women and youth in leadership. In addition, 6 countries have joined the PABRA network.
Charles Katabalwa from Community Enterprises Development Organisation (CEDO) delved into the experience bean seed production and grain aggregation
Boniface Mugisa from AgResults highlighted the private sector-led seed quality verification in Uganda through an AgResults pilot experience
Methiodus Kasujja from Kasujja General Stores relayed experiences from Bean Trader while Nutreal Foods’ Dorothy Nakimbugwe gave experiences from Bean processors.
Methiodus Kasujja from Kasujja General Stores and Nutreal Foods’ Dorothy Nakimbugwe
Financial inclusion and linking value chain actors sparked a lot of interest from delegates after a presentation by Daniel Huba of MasterCard Labs.
The team made a visit to Kyazanga Cooperative Society and Community Enterprises Development Organisation (CEDO) on the second day of the meeting.
Kyazanga Farmers’ Cooperative Society (KFCS) started growing improved high yielding bean varieties ten years ago. When NARO bean breeders approached them to establish trials for potential high yielding and multiple stresses resilient bean lines, they were hesitant.
CEDO seeds, a popular bean seed producer in Central region that has partnered with NARO and PABRA for over 10 years to enhance the bean seed system in Uganda. On average, CEDO produces 250MT of certified seed in a single season for 14 bean varieties. CEDO evolved into a registered seed company in 2010 that provides tailored technologies that focus on reducing men and women time in production through IT inclusion. They also build capacity on engagement in markets and Village Saving and Loan associations.
On the third day, there was an update from the PABRA networks where Dr. Robin Buruchara gave a PABRA update. East and Central Africa Bean Research Network coordinator Jean Claude Rubyogo, Southern Africa Bean Research Network coordinator Dr. Rowland Chirwa and and Central Africa Bean Research Network coordinator Dr. Louis Butere each gave an update on their networks before Dr. Didre Fourie summed up the session with a review of the 20th PABRA Annual Steering committee.
During the successful meeting, it was agreed that the production hubs need to consider breeding varieties with qualities and characteristics that farmers demand such as yield stability, palatability and cooking time. The gender strategy for the corridors approach looks at closing the gender yield gap and increasing income through higher yields. In partnership with MasterCard Labs, a digital product will be created to support aggregation, financial inclusion and diverse saving options for women.