Reviewing ECABREN’s Progress Over the Last Year

15 February, 2010 by (comments)
By Olive Thiong’o

The East and Central Africa Bean Research Network (ECABREN) opened its annual steering committee meeting this morning, to review the work carried out in the first year of the new PABRA phase.

ECABREN, the most established network of the Pan Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA), is holding the meeting in Arusha, Tanzania from 15 – 20, February. The meeting is especially important in the region, as the participants will be trained on gender issues during the last two days a subject that is central to new the PABRA phase(2009-2013). A first in the region, the training will soon be held for other PABRA members in the region, to integrate gender issues into all areas of bean production.

Dr Lucas Mugendi, a researcher from Tanzania’s Selian Agricultural Research Institute, on behalf of the institute’s Director, gave the opening remarks saying: “The production of beans as we know it is spreading from Eastern, Central and Southern Africa into Western Africa, due to PABRA’s excellent work.

“We are aware that you are working on all the constraints to promote the widespread growth of the crop, despite the biotic and abiotic constraints throughout sub-Saharan Africa,” he continued.

“We, in Tanzania, highly promote bean production, through a program known as Kilimo Kwanza, which is encouraging agro-business production, rather than traditional subsistence cropping.”

During the meeting, the participants from the 10 network countries will give updates on their progress in adapting to the new PABRA framework. In addition, the representatives shall develop and consolidate work plans for the next PABRA year.

With this clear agenda, the meeting began with members selecting a new ECABREN committee chair for the next year (April 2010 – March 2011), a position that was previously held by Capitoline Ruraduma from Burundi. The two key roles of the coordinator are: to represent ECABREN for the whole year and to chair the steering committee meetings. Michael Ugen, the National Coordinator for the National Agricultural Research Organisation in Uganda, was unanimously chosen.

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