A new hybrid of beans is set to double farmers’ income in Uganda after it was introduced in the country.
Bush beans are one of the crops that nearly every farmer in Uganda and across Africa is growing. For farmers planting beans considering the short maturity span means food on the table and this makes it a good choice for succession planting.
Unlike the climbing beans, the new hybrid do not need trellises and they have the advantage of adding nitrogen in the soil thereby causing fertility.
Scientists handling bean breeding at the National Crop Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) in Namulonge have over the years released a series of varieties, namely Nambale, K131 (1994), K132 (1994), NABE 2 (1995), NABE 3, NABE 4 and others
Previous climbing bean varieties include NABE series 7C, 8C, 9C, 10C and NABE 12 released in 2003.
However the recently released varieties by the Ugandan ministry of agriculture include NAROBEAN 6 and NAROBEAN 7 which are small seeded varieties that not only have better strength to withstand heat stress, but are also high yielding and early maturing. The breeding process started in 2011.
The head of bean breeding at NaCRRI, Dr. Stanley Nkalubo explained that the two varieties are meant to address prolonged drought, a challenge farmers are faced with across the country.
“Prolonged drought is very prominent, especially in the central, mid-eastern, mid – western, south-western, eastern and northern semi-arid areas of Uganda, leading to serious bean yield losses and as bean breeders we set out to develop varieties that yield potentially well in the intermittent drought stressed environment,” he noted.
The varieties are meant for farmers to cope with the changing conditions of climate to enable them grow these varieties during periods when there is heat stress.
Previously, farmers used to plant in February and harvest between mid-May and June.
The story drastically changed from as far back as 2016 where the season faltered and farmers experienced plants in the fields drying from excessive heat.