Market demand creation and release of new higher yielding, faster cooking common bean varieties with higher iron bioavailability in Zambia


GCRF AgriFood Africa Innovation Awards Round 3





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About the project

UK-registered Partner: The Kirkhouse Trust SCIO – Claudia Canales Holzeis
Africa-registered Partner: University of Zambia – Kelvin Kamfwa

We set to develop a blueprint to aid the dissemination of public-sector improved legume varieties, which are open pollinated crops and therefore tend to attract less investment than hybrid crops.

The project focused on two common bean varieties submitted to the Seed Control and Certification Institute for official release by the University of Zambia. YBC129 and Zerengeti were improved for disease resistance, increased yield and shorter cooking time (YBC129).

The project confirmed the importance of the following activities for effective dissemination:

  • The engagement with key stakeholders, including farmers and seed companies, needs to occur at the beginning of the breeding process and be maintained throughout to ensure the project delivers varieties that respond to local market demand, and to promote shared ownership and uptake of the products.
  • A clear agreement with partner seed companies on the business model to be used is essential to ensure mutual benefit and long-term sustainability of operations, intended as the reinvestment of part of the revenue derived on the breeding programme for future.activities. Key aspects of the business model include royalties and exclusivity.
  • The distribution of small packets of seeds once is a very effective method for creating demand among farmers who are more likely to invest in new varieties after having had the opportunity to try them.
  • A close collaboration with an established seed company with effective quality controls is important to make sure farmers receive high quality inputs, and to preserve the reputation of the breeding team.

Learn more about the project in this recording from our recent GCRF AgriFood Africa Project Showcase event.


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