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TAAT’s bean toolkit contains several new biofortified crop varieties (upper left) including climbers (top center); application of legume inoculants (upper right) and seed dressing; specially blended fertilizers (lower left); and hermetic grain storage (lower right). Special attention is paid to modernizing traditional bean intercropping systems (bottom center).

This Compact is led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) through partnerships in eight countries located in upland areas of Central, East and Southern Africa where bean production offers greatest opportunity. The bean technology toolkits are driven by the development of biofortified bean varieties rich in iron and zinc and lines increasingly resistant to root disease. They includes both bush and climbing varieties. These varieties are disseminated by both commercial and community-based seed production. Seed dressing containing insecticide and fungicide, and inoculation with elite rhizobia are important accompanying technologies.

Land preparation is improved through the use small-scale mechanization, and for climbing varieties through low-cost staking strategies employing locally gathered materials. Soil fertility is managed through the application of specialized fertilizer blends with little or no nitrogen and manures. Beans require cooler, moist climates and planting on raised beds for rapid drainage is encouraged.

Weed management is improved through the use of pre-emergent herbicides and the use of handoperated mechanical weeders. Integrated Pest and Disease Management is well developed for bean ad these materials are being compiled and distributed through extension mechanisms.

Grain is separated from cut plants by commercially-available mechanical threshers and protected from weevils through use of PICs hermetically-sealed bags. Beans are an important protein source, but one with a lengthy cooking requirement, that is being more conveniently processed for consumers by pre-cooking and milling, and several new products are entering urban markets. The Bean Compact is primarily intended to improve Africa’s nutritional security and is targeted toward domestic markets such as local supermarkets