In the first phase of the project, there were significant achievements in participatory bean variety selection, and identification of selection criteria for new bean varieties by various stakeholders (farmers, traders, consumers. New bean varieties were released in Malawi, whereas in Mozambique and southern highlands of Tanzania varieties were identified for official release. In phase II the project continues the analysis of bean seed production and delivery systems to generate lessons regarding which systems work best under what circumstances and for which category of clients, so that they can be scaled up and out for wider use. With the exception of Malawi where a government seed subsidy guarantees a market for seed, beans have not been of interest to private sector seed companies as they are self-pollinated so farmers can grow crops from seed that they save. Diversified local systems (including community seed groups, individual farmers, and local stores using small seed packets) will therefore be critical for farmer access to new varieties. Research, led by CIAT and implemented in national programs focuses on further development and analysis of local seed systems to determine which are most efficient at providing farmers with quality seed, and a) speeding up the testing of any new promising varieties – as variety development is a continuous process; b) Widely testing and fast tracking use of best non-variety bean-based technologies to increase production, reduce post-harvest loss c) enhance utilization/marketing of beans to increase farmers’ wellbeing (nutrition and economic returns at farmer level and along supply chains d) developing bean commodity functional platforms in the three countries to ensure better information flow and understanding among stakeholders.
Develop evidence of adaptation and acceptability of new bean lines for releaseMainstream the use of promising seed dissemination models including decentralized seed production systems and innovative marketing using the small seed pack approachProvide information been production technologies so that seed producers can optimize yields of new cultivarsDevelopment bean commodity platforms in each country to pilot collaboration and information exchange between stakeholders to enhance the development of bean-based agro-enterprises and ultimately motivate actors in the supply chains
Outputs and Outcomes:
Project has supported seed producers by providing them foundation seedsIn Malawi, farmers associations, 1 seed company, and entrepreneurial farmers produced 1180 tons of seed in 2011 from foundation seeds