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 more consumers, allowing farmers to access better seeds.

Dr. Jean-Claude Rubyogo, Seed Systems Specialist and East and Central Africa Bean Research Network (ECABREN) Coordinator

Our assessment of the bean trade in Africa has revealed major flows of different types of beans between production and consumption areas, connected by distribution networks. For example, in Tanzania and Burundi, high demand for the yellow bean drives trade, which happens along a particular route. In Ethiopia, white pea beans are in major demand, driving production there, and a trade route can be traced linking farmers with consumers.

These routes, or Commodity Corridors can shed light on the largely informal bean market. If we can find out more about them and how they work, we can improve the business environment in these areas, strengthening relationships between farmers and buyers. We can improve policy support for improving trade routes, and investment in structures to help bean traders.

Commodity Corridors can focus on different commodities including beans – a promising new framework through which PABRA can create market-driven, rural agricultural transformation. The Commodity Corridor approach analyses trade flows, to find out where production, distribution and consumption can be supported and intensified.

Commodity Corridors are characterized by production hubs – areas where large volumes of beans are produced. Distribution hubs include warehouses, storage points, or commodity exchanges, distributing beans to consumers. And consumption hubs include supermarkets, processing units, and bean buyers.

The Commodity Corridor approach will link all members of the chain while stimulating, developing and intensifying financial investment, linking to credit institutions and Information and Communication Technologies to bean boost production.