HarvestPlus supported the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) to breed, test, and release varieties of iron beans developed through our partnership with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Beans are the predominant staple food in Rwanda.
We worked with private farmers, cooperatives, and non-governmental partners to produce and multiply certified seed of released varieties for delivery to farmers. A payback system ensures that poor farmers receive free seed, which they repay in kind upon harvest.
In partnership with public and non-governmental organizations, we trained farming households in crop management, nutrition, postharvest handling, and marketing.
We also worked to facilitate private sector engagement in the value chain for iron beans, which is essential for long term sustainability of the bean seed distribution, and to strengthen markets for biofortified crops.
Public awareness campaigns leverage the power of mass media and local icons, including music stars, to educate Rwandans on micronutrient deficiencies and the benefits of iron beans.
Our advocacy strengthened national ownership of biofortification through effective integration into national nutrition and agricultural policies.
“Before, when I was growing the indigenous variety, I could hardly harvest 1 ton, but now I harvest 3 tons of iron-rich beans from the same 2 hectares of land.”— Shiragahinda Augustin, Farmer from Northern Province
Rwanda ranks number 2 out of 123 countries suitable for investing in iron beans.
Nutritional Benefits: Provides up to 80% of daily iron needs
Farmer Benefits: High yielding, virus resistant, heat and drought tolerant
Varieties: RWR 2245 (bush), RWR 2154 (bush), CAB 2 (climber), MAC 44 (climber), RWV 1129 (climber), RWV 3006 (climber), RWV 3316 (climber), RWV 3317 (climber), MAC 42 (climber), RWV 2887 (climber)
- Iron deficiency impairs mental development and learning capacity, increases weakness and fatigue and may increase the risk of women in during childbirth.
- 38% of Rwandan children under 5 are estimated to be iron deficient (DHS).
- Annually, Rwanda loses nearly $50 million to vitamin and mineral deficiencies (World Bank).