New bean products to improve food security

April 21, 2016
Mercy Rurii

​New easy-to-cook bean products are set to improve food and nutrition security for low- and middle-income households in Kenya and Uganda. Researchers at Uganda's National Agricultural Research Organisation and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Institute have partnered with Canada’s Food Development Centre to provide expertise and services in developing and testing precooked bean products.

The new products are expected to increase bean consumption and reduce both the time women spend on household cooking and the wood fuel used. The new products are also set to create a larger, more lucrative market for smallholder bean farmers, most of whom are women. 

So far, 47 bean varieties have been tested for their suitability for precooking. Ten have been selected, and their nutritional value analyzed. This is the first time a full nutritional profile of bean varieties has been available in Kenya and Uganda. Two types of products precooked beans and bean snacks have been developed, and the latter tested with consumers in major supermarkets in Kenya and Uganda. To increase production of selected varieties, the researchers are collaborating with non-government organizations working directly with smallholder farmers and a private sector company, Lasting Solutions.

The project is funded under the Cultivate Africa’s Future (CultiAF) program, a four-year, $15 million fund that supports applied research to improve long-term food security in East and Southern Africa.

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