• Derese Eshete, Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute, Ethiopia

    As a senior researcher, Derese Eshete has spent his career with one goal in mind: to improve the living conditions of the farmers he believes he is working for. Having worked on many crops previously, including the country’s “super-grain” teff, he has settled on beans for now. At his desk, looking out onto several fields of the rural Arsi-Negele sub-station in southeast Ethiopia, his dedication is obvious, as he describes the painstaking efforts he and his team go through, to test, evaluate and analyze bean seeds to ensure they help smallholder farmers improve their lives. “As I’m an Ethiopian, I like our farmers to have a very nice income – and they are eager to plant the white pea beans if they can get seed,” he explains. That, in fact, is the major challenge. While local bean varieties are in large supply, improved beans which can deliver higher yields, while being resilient to increasing swathes of pests and diseases and drought – especially with the onset of climate change – are harder to come by.  Walking through the rows of different bean varieties at the research station, Eshete makes notes on a large clipboard detailing his latest observations, for example, the effects of recent weather, or damage caused by pests or diseases. Eshete’s grandson runs behind his white lab coat, watching him work. “We are selecting varieties which resist disease, those which are early maturing – the ones which perform better,” he explains. After that, we have state farms or seed growers here in Ethiopia. These growers can multiply the beans in a huge area – then they will distribute to our farmers. The beans will undergo more rigorous tests for drought resilience, disease resistance and canning quality, in the local context. The best varieties are whittled down over years. This process of improving, multiplying and disseminating beans is part of a seed system delivering improved beans to farmers on a much larger scale than has been possible in the past. Part of this success is due to relationships built over decades between researchers, private sector business and other partners – including farmers, he says.

    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
  • PABRA Annual Report 2016/2017 – 20th Anniversary Special Edition

    Citation PABRA. 2017. PABRA Annual Report 2016/2017 – 20th Anniversary Special Edition . Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance – PABRA . Nairobi, KE. 41 p..

    Continue reading
  • Defining a new approach: better beans for Africa

    By Dr. Robin Buruchara, Director of the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) Editorial of PABRA Annual Report 2016 – 20th Anniversary Special Edition Venture onto any small farm…

    Continue reading
  • When spiders unite, they can tie up a lion

    By Debisi Araba, Regional Director for Africa, CIAT There’s an Ethiopian proverb: “When spiders unite, they can tie up a lion.” I’ve always been fascinated with the potential of sustained…

    Continue reading
  • Finding white gold

    By Dr. Jean-Claude Rubyogo, Seed Systems Specialist and East and Central Africa Bean Research Network (ECABREN) Coordinator There was a time when, as researchers, our focus was on breeding beans to…

    Continue reading
  • Commodity Corridors: A paradigm shift in PABRA’s business

    In the last 20 years, PABRA researchers have found that novel approaches are needed to eliminate bean production bottlenecks. We have made significant progress towards getting better beans to…

    Continue reading
  • News update

    This year, the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) celebrates 20 years of better beans for Africa  For 20 years, PABRA has helped to breed more nutritious, resilient beans for Africa.  Stay tuned by following this hashtag #PABRA20  and find out more about our work and initiatives here: http://bit.ly/2olaOu4

    Continue reading
  • R&D helping Africa have special beans to fight anaemia

    Dr. Mercy Lung’aho, a nutritionist at CIAT and member of the Pan-African Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) network, talks to Scidev.net about high iron beans – and how they can…

    Continue reading
  • The Pan-African Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) wrapped up its joint steering committee planning workshop, Nairobi, Kenya earlier this month, January 20th – February 2nd

    The workshop brought together more than 100 participants from across Africa, to plan the next phase of their research activities. Novel approaches to leverage better beans for more people…

    Continue reading