Climbing beans reach new heights in Rwanda

29 January, 2013 by (comments)

Already one of the most densely populated countries in the world, the United Nations predicts that Rwanda’s population of around 11 million people is set to nearly quadruple by the turn of the century.

An Upward Spiral – the story of climbing beans in Rwanda from CIAT Colombia on Vimeo.

With a pressing need to sustainably boost food production in the country, An Upward Spiral showcases one promising initiative – the introduction and widespread adoption of improved climbing beans.

By virtue of growing several feet high, climbing beans can be up to three times more productive than commonly-grown bush beans, on the same area of land.

Beans being crucial to the Rwandan diet as a source of protein, but “climbers” also help protect against soil erosion, and some of the new improved varieties released in the country by the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) – through the CIAT-co-ordinated Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) – are disease resistant and higher in essential nutrients like iron and zinc.

In just a few years the improved varieties have become the beans-of-choice for many smallholders, and their high productivity has transformed beans in Rwanda from subsistence to cash crops. As you’ll see in this photofilm, the country has quickly become a bean exporter.

While far from a magic bullet, improved climbing beans could be one in a broad package of measures that could help ease the effects of intense – and increasing – population pressure in Rwanda.

See also:
CIAT Blog – War for food, war for space – the future of Central Africa?
The Guardian – Climbing beans improve life for Rwandan farmers – in pictures
CGIAR Stories of Change – Rwanda: Climbing beans – an upward spiral


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Filed Under: Africa @en, Beans @en, Multimedia @en