The contribution of the CIAT genebank to the development of iron-biofortified bean varieties and well-being of farm households in Rwanda uri icon

abstract

  • Genebanks play an essential role in a world where agricultural biodiversity has been lost from farming habitats, malnutrition persists as global population continues to rise, and farm productivity is vulnerable to climate change. We demonstrate the importance of the genebank of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to the development of seven iron-biofortified varieties of climbing bean and the impact of their adoption on farm households in Rwanda. First, we link iron-biofortified varieties of climbing beans directly to the genebank through pedigree analysis and key informant interviews with the breeders who developed them. Second, we apply various econometric models to test the impact of adoption on yield, consumption, and purchase of beans by farming households in Rwanda, building upon previous research on bush beans. We based the analysis on a dataset of nearly 1400 households, collected in 2015 by HarvestPlus. We found that the scope of the genetic diversity housed in the bean collection at CIAT was fundamental to developing successful iron-biofortified beans. We found significant positive effects of climbing varieties on yields; however, we did not find significant effects on the amounts of beans consumed by households or bean purchases. Our results suggest that it is possible to trace the journey of an accession from its introduction in the genebank to its final use by farmers and consumers. Positive effects on yield generate incentives for adoption of iron-biofortified bean varieties, potentially boosting micronutrient consumption. Further research is needed to understand the factors affecting the adoption and impacts of climbing bean varieties.

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2020