Breeding Red-Mottled Beans for East and Central Africa
Kimani, P. M
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The common bean is grown by more than 90% of small-scale farmers in Africa. Of all the seed types grown in East and Central Africa, the red-mottled types occupy the greatest area: 650,000 ha in Eastern Africa and 90,000 ha in Southern Africa. This is also the most important bean type sold and consumed in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique, with a market share of about 22% in Eastern Africa. The breeding programme in Uganda is aimed at developing improved, marketable, red-mottled varieties with resistance to two or more biotic and abiotic constraints, and with acceptable agronomic and culinary qualities. In order to achieve this objective, breeding activities have been implemented under five major projects: hybridisation, evaluation of segregating populations and new introductions, multilocational yield trials, on-farm testing, and maintenance breeding. Since 1995, eight varieties of bush beans and four climbing varieties have been released. Several others are in advanced stages and, currently, 10 bush and five climbing varieties are being tested on-farm. There have been high demand and adoption of these new varieties, thereby contributing to household food security, protein availability, and income. However, it has been observed that the selection criterion used by farmers is different from that used by breeders. There is now a need to involve farmers at the very early stage of selection through participatory plant breeding so as to accelerate the adoption process.