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February 26, 2012

New bean varieties released in Cameroon

The Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD) in Cameroon, have released seven new improved bean varieties onto the market.

Among the traits the various varieties carry are disease resistance, ability to tolerate heavy rains as well as suitability to different cultivation altitudes and planting seasons. They also have different maturity durations. Among them are the “bushy” bean types which grow at ground level, and climbing beans, which can grow up to 1.5m high supported on stakes.

Cameroon is the main bean producer and exporter in the region. Its rural households consume 40% of beans produced, with the rest going to urban markets and supplying all of the country’s neighbors. The country’s area under bean production has increased from 78,000 ha (1985-87) to 231,000 ha (2005-7), while average production rose from 53,000 tonnes (1985-87) to 202, 000 tonnes (2005-7).

By working with bean researchers from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and those in eastern and southern Africa, Cameroon’s scientists were able to test and identify the improved seven bean varieties in a relatively short period of time; three to four years. If they had gone through the normal variety selection and breeding process, this process would have taken twice as long.

A number of bean varieties found in West and Central Africa have interesting traits that potentially could also benefit eastern and southern Africa.

The Pan-African Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) is composed of a number of national and international research organizations to share information and experiences.

African Agriculture

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