Precooked beans set to reach more households in Africa

When the first phase of Cultivate Africa’s Future (CultiAF) project came to an end in 2016, it was clear that a larger scale production and dissemination plan was needed in the next phase. This plan will ensure more households in Africa can access precooked beans which are easier to handle.

The end of CultiAF phase I catalyzed the introduction of Phase II, which is a two- year project working with farmers in two countries in Kenya and Uganda to boost the production of pre-selected high iron bean varieties, and promoting public-private partnerships in the distribution of pre-cooked bean products in these two countries through retail outlets, hotels, schools, hospitals and other outlets.

Common bean is a major staple food in eastern and southern Africa and recognized as the second most important source of human dietary protein and a third most important source of calories among all agricultural commodities produced in the region. ‘Through this next phase, I believe the household consumption patterns will change to embrace these readily available sources of protein. Food and nutritional security, social and economic welfare among bean producing and consuming households through the scaling up of precooked beans will also be achieved. said Dr. Lusilwa Wasilwa – Director of Crops.

‘The women who own small eateries have discovered the secret to free up their time to do other household chores. They are buying the precooked beans. Before, they had to start cooking the beans early in the morning to ensure that by lunchtime there is ready food to sell.’ remarked David Karanja, the bean coordinator, Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organization (KALRO).

This project is using nutritious, better tasting, and attractive colour beans varieties developed by the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) are supporting the scale-up of supply of precooked beans in Kenya and Uganda to improve nutrition and food security in Kenya and Uganda. The precooked beans project, one of nine projects supported under CultiAf II, will receive around AU$780,000 on a shared 50-50 basis.

This initiative will improve food and nutrition security, as well as income generation and environmental conservation by promoting the use of precooked beans that take less time to cook, thus consuming less energy and firewood.

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