As part of its 50th anniversary commemoration, HarvestPlus co-convener CIAT has solicitated expert views on achieving a sustainable food future in Africa. In the piece below, plant breeder Claire Mukankusi weighs in with her vision for beans.
My dream has always been to reach the poorest in Africa though science. And now, as a “doctor of plants,” as my children call me, I help regulate the flow of beans between the world’s largest bean genebank in Colombia and many countries in Africa.
Beans are essential in sub-Saharan Africa. In East Africa alone, they are the second most-traded commodity, and a meal is often considered incomplete without them. In many African countries, every woman, with only a very small piece of land, can grow and sell beans, to put a nutritious meal on the table.
Thanks to decades of research, we have already made huge progress in improving beans. They are now more nutritious and affordable, and the plants are more productive and hardy in the face of heat and drought.
But if we’re going to meet the Sustainable Development Goal “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition,” we’re going to need to raise the bar even higher.