Beans are important in terms of nutrition, food security and household income. They are among the most consumed crops with per capita consumption of 50-60 kg per person per year in the East African region. Beans have increasingly become a modern and market oriented crop.
However, though important, the processing of the bean crop is still limited and yet there are a number of opportunities for value addition and this was observed as the main area that this project would contribute towards adding value through processing beans into precooked beans. Precooked beans offer attractive opportunities for increased production, improved food and nutrition security and economic growth for small holder farmers and consumers in the region.
Precooked beans are beans pre-processed by cooking under high temperature and pressure and packed in airtight/weather proof aluminium sachets that can preserve the product for a long time (over 6 months).
The project will be implemented as a partnership of National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) – National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI), Uganda; Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) – Katumani Research Centre, Kenya; International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) – Nairobi, Kenya, Lasting Solutions (LS) – Kampala, Uganda; Smart Logistics Solutions (SLS) – Nairobi, Kenya; Community Enterprises Development Organization (CEDO) – Rakai, Uganda. Other key actors that will be key in the project were noted as Farmer groups/Associations/Organizations/Federations; Private sector (Traders, transporters), NGOs, CBOs, Church Organizations and the central and Local Government and Universities.
The overall objective of the project is;
“To increase the use of pre-cooked beans for improved food and nutrition security, income generation and conservation of natural resources in Kenya and Uganda”.
And the specific objectives as;
- To develop and evaluate affordable pre-cooked bean products targeting different consumer groups
- To test models for increasing the production and supply of bean varieties suitable for processing into pre-cooked beans
- To assess demand, identify promotion mechanisms and widely promote the consumption of precooked beans for different consumer groups
- To analyze and mainstream gender in the precooked bean value chain
- To test and assess different formal and informal uptake mechanisms and inform food and nutrition policies in the region
Immediate results expected are;
- Varieties suitable for precooking with high nutrient contents
- Business case models
- Precooked bean products
- Scientific information
- Multi-stakeholder bean innovation platforms
Key development outcomes from the project will be;
- Increased bean production at household level
- Increased employment with the emergence of agro-enterprises at various stages of the value chain – production, grading, bulking, packaging, transportation, and marketing especially for women and youth
- Increased income and more equitable distribution of income at household level
- Increased consumption of beans by households in rural, urban and peri=urban areas
- A reduction in women’s time and in fuel wood energy use in cooking beans
- Increased women and youth economic empowerment
Some of the expected products are “Ready-to-eat” bean snacks, functional recooked beans that cook 15 minutes, fortified bean flour that will be nutritionally enhanced with calcium, iron, folic to aid in the global fight against malnutrition and improve food security.
In addition, precooked beans will aid in saving the environment by saving 80% of fuel used to cook beans, reduce time need to prepare beans. As a result, the project will enhance economic development by creating more jobs especially at the processing plant.