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Rapid breeding for reduced cooking time and enhanced nutritional quality in common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris)

Project Code: CROP/2018/132
Program: Crops
Research Program Manager: Dr. Eric Huttner
Project Leader: Wallace Cowling - University of Western Australia
AUG 2019
JUN 2024
Project Status: Legally Committed/Active
Key partners
Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research
Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi
International Center for Tropical Agriculture
Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation
Maruku Agricultural Research Institute
National Crops Resources Research Institute
Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board


The health and well-being of small landholder African women, men and children will benefit from improved common bean varieties with shorter cooking time (CT), higher protein and increased iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) contents. Long CT is a disincentive to consumption since it demands large amounts of water, fuel and time, and normally firewood or charcoal is collected by women and children at great personal risk and cost to the environment, and imposes a health risk through prolonged exposure to smoke during cooking. The recent development of new breeding methods based on pedigree and genomic selection together with optimal contribution selection (OCS) offers an opportunity to accelerate breeding of common bean for rapid CT and higher Fe and Zn content.

This project will undertake capacity building in the new breeding methodology in east Africa through gender-inclusive training programmes, and for new marketing approaches that ensure equitable access to new varieties developed in the project.