By: Laetitia Umulisa
Farmers from Burera District and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), teams from Rwanda and United States of America have enjoyed iron beans field tour and meals on 13th of May 2016 in Cyanika Sector of Burera District in Northern Province in Rwanda.
In collaboration with HarvestPlus, RAB and local leaders, farmers from Cyanika Sector in Burera District have taken the USAID staff to the field visit where 68 farmers are growing iron beans on 15 hectares. The purpose of the field site visit was for USAID staff to learn lessons about the work that farmers are carrying out in regards of iron beans production and consumption in Rwanda with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Farmers have also taken the opportunity to share their nutrition skills by demonstrating the cooking of iron beans on their meals and have let people taste.
The Scaling up of Iron Beans in Rwanda, is a 3 years project funded by USAID to be implemented within USAID’s Feed the Future Zone of Influence. The project objective is to increase the production, dissemination and consumption of iron beans in Rwanda as part of the effort to improve nutrition and iron status of Rwandans in general, women and children in particular. The Scaling up of Iron Beans in Rwanda, is expanding the ongoing HarvestPlus/Rwanda effort to improve nutrition and public health by producing, disseminating and promoting the consumption of iron beans to the wider Rwandan population. The project aims to improve the nutrition status of 400,000 Rwandans by scaling up the production and consumption of iron beans within 16 Districts which make up of the Feed the future Zone of influence.
Augustin Shiragahinda, is one of the farmers who has been growing iron beans for four years. He said that the beans are high yielding and delicious. He furthermore added that in addition to nutrition benefits, the beans also provide financial benefits. “Iron beans are high yielding. On average, I harvest 2.5 Metric tons per hectare every season while I used to harvest 800 Kilograms per hectare with the local varieties”, he said. He shared that, ever since he has started growing and consuming iron beans, the life of entire family has changed. He is able to pay for medical insurance and school fees for his children in high schools.
In their remarks, Rwanda agriculture Board representatives promised to avail iron beans through multiplication to other farmers who have not yet grown them in Burera District in particular and in the Northern Province in general while USAID team advised farmers to especially consume iron beans rather than selling them all on markets because they are rich in nutrients that help them to have a better health.
Coordinated by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Rwanda, HarvestPlus leads a global effort to improve nutrition and public health by promoting the production and consumption of iron beans.