Breeding beans for smallholder farmers in Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa: Constraints, achievements, and potential

Serious declines in food security and income in sub-Saharan Africa over the past two decades have resulted
in widespread poverty and malnutrition, especially among resource-poor smallholders and the urban poor.
The common bean is a major part of their food requirements and source of income, but there have been
declines in bean productivity, attributable to a number of factors and estimated at nearly 3,000,000 t per
year. In the last 16 years, the Pan-African Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) together with NARS partners,
farmers, NGOs, and other stakeholders have sought to overcome these constraints by breeding highyielding,
disease- and pest-resistant cultivars adapted to poor soils, with characteristics acceptable for
domestic and export markets, and seed production and delivery systems for smallholder producers, among
other things.