Alliance Takes Steps To Boost Bean Production
A four-day conference to find radical ways of doing things to substantially increase bean production in sub-Saharan Africa has opened in Kumasi.
It is being organized by the West and Central Africa Bean Network Steering Committee of the Pan-African Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) and the goal is to engage key stakeholders to help address the production constraints.
Dr. Robin Buruchara, Director of the Alliance, mentioned some of them as cross-border trade restrictions, low tradable volumes, high transaction costs and poor nutritional value.
These, he said, were threatening the sustainable production of the legume and could not be allowed to continue.
He added that more should be done to increase farmer access to highly nutritious and quality seeds.
The meeting organized jointly with the Crop Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has brought together agricultural researchers and scientists from Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Congo, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Senegal and Guinea.
Dr. Buruchara said they would discuss ways to deepen the understanding of the ‘Bean Market Corridor Approach’, a concept developed out of the assessment of the bean trade in Africa.
The approach, he said, presented a promising new development framework of market-driven transformational agriculture, focused on intensifying production, linking farmers and businesses, and mainstreaming nutrition in the value chain.
The PABRA Director explained that the approach was expected to link all stakeholders along the value chain, stimulate financial opportunities and improve access to market information to enable farmers to make informed decisions about when and where to sell and compare the prices on offer.
“It is an avenue for turning bean production in small quantities into large quantities that can influence economic development in Africa.”
Dr. Stella Ama Ennin, Director of CRI, said beans had the potential to reduce poverty, improve food security and nutrition.
She pointed out that in countries where the incidence of anaemia remained high the legume should be given the needed attention.
She announced that the CRI had recently developed and released to farmers four varieties of beans to boost production.
Ms. Marie-Claude Harvey, an Official of the Canadian High Commission in Ghana, pledged her country’s determination to assist Ghana to achieve food security and bring wealth to the people.