06-12-2017 09:00 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
Super beans to the rescue of drought-prone Africa
People of many drought-prone areas in Africa have something to look forward to, to silence their hunger pangs – super beans. It is a fast-maturing, high-yield variety of beans promoted by Uganda's government and agriculture experts amid efforts to feed hunger-prone parts of Africa.
Instead of using the contentious genetic modification technologies, this bean is produced by conventional genetic selection. Farmers are witnessing a threefold increase in the yield.
This new variety of beans has thrilled the impoverished farmers of northern Uganda which is also burdened by the recent arrival of more than 1 million refugees from its war-torn neighbor, South Sudan.
According to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, the beans have been bred by conventional means to resist the drought conditions. Stanley Nkalubo, a legumes research scientist with Uganda's National Agricultural Research Organization said the beans have to go through certain rigorous tests before they can be released to the general public, to make sure they do actually address all the issues well and perform well in different climatic conditions.
The beans are being supplied to neighbouring places as planting material so that people can grow their own food in the wake of a cut in handouts due to funding shortages. A senior program manager with FAO said that just 50 kilograms of planting seeds are expected to yield up to 2,000 kilograms of beans.
According to experts, the "super" beans are valuable because they cook quickly and tolerate most diseases and pests.The locals find them more delicious than the regular beans.