What is a better impact message of bean research in Africa: farm productivity or land conservation?<br />D.S.White1,2, R.T...
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poster12: What is a better impact message of bean researchin Africa: farm productivity or land conservation?:

  1. 1. What is a better impact message of bean research in Africa: farm productivity or land conservation?<br />D.S.White1,2, R.Twongyirwe3, A.Farrow1,4<br />Foto: whatscookkng.us<br />With climbing beans, farmers can reap 2-3 times the harvest of bush beans. Larger harvests have led to high adoption rates, especially in Rwanda (Sperling, et al. 1995). Bean cultivation also increases the productivity of subsequent crops. Research conducted in eastern Uganda (White, et al. 2010) and the Lake Kivu region (CIALCA 2008) reported maize yield increases of about 25%.<br />The beneficial characteristics of CIAT-PABRA beans have generated numerous types of environmental impacts (Table 1). Such productivity increases and effects on natural resources (e.g. forests) translate to land savings. <br />Table 1. Characteristics of beans and associated potential impacts<br />Recent CIAT-PABRA research has enabled an expanded adaptation range of climbing beans to mid-altitude regions (1500- 1800m). Spatial analysis identified the potential extent of climbing bean cultivation in the below maps.  <br />Next steps:<br />Identify R&D activities needed to achieve expanded climbing bean cultivation.<br />Estimate the economic value of environmental benefits from better beans. Such summary measures are useful in comparing impacts of agricultural research investments. <br />Identify how other CIAT-PABRA germplasm research (forages, cassava and rice) also generates productivity increases with environmental benefits. <br />With such messages, CIAT-PABRA can work with a wider audience of organizations to increase effectiveness and impact of its germplasm research.<br />References:<br />CIALCA. 2008. Final Report Phase I. CIALCA Progress Report 05. Kampala, Uganda and Nairobi, Kenya: Consortium for Improving Agriculture-based Livelihoods in Central Africa. 94p http://www.cialca.org/files/files/CIALCA-I_final_technical_report.pdf<br />Gutierrez, E., K. Lamoureux, S. Matus, K. Sebunya. 2005. Linking Communities, Tourism & Conservation. Conservation International and The George Washington University. Washington, DC. 122p.<br />Sperling, L., S. Muyaneza. 1995. Intensifying Production Among Smallholder Farmers: The Impact of Improved Climbing Beans in Rwanda. African Crop Science Journal 3(1):117-125.<br />White, D.S., R. Twongyirwe, A. Farrow. 2010. Cultivating Better Beans in Africa: Good for Forests, Landscape and Gorillas? A case study of environmental impacts. CIAT working paper for the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) of the CGIAR.<br />It depends on with whom you are talking. <br />These two impacts of CIAT-PABRA research are very much related - but the words used to describe them are not. <br />So what?<br />Other organizations, especially from the conservation perspective, would likely be interested in CIAT-PABRA impacts. <br />Conservationists have their own priorities: forests, biodiversity, habitat, wildlife. Although these words are rarely used when talking about germplasm research, CIAT-PABRA bean research affects such natural resources. <br />Simply stated: better beans make lands more productive so farmers do not need to expand their activities into forests. Thus, trees, wildlife and biodiversity habitat can be conserved. <br />Is this true? <br />Yes, it can be. A group of <br />conditions need to assure it. <br />The potential problem is that <br />better productivity can <br />increase incentives to convert<br />forests to agricultural <br />production. <br />Therefore, government policies and community actions are needed to support forest conservation. Such policies and actions are both carrots and sticks. Policy carrots include farm extension services to improve farm performance, while sticks include penalties and jail time for damaging protected habitats. <br />Communities near to habitats dislike and like conservation measures. Restrictions of land use, such as collecting firewood, are frustrating. New employment opportunities, such as tourism-related jobs, are welcome. Another type of employment opportunity is better farm productivity and profits (Gutierrez, et al. 2005). <br />Conservation organizations strive to support both governments and communities to maintain delicate habitats, such as for mountain gorilla. Such organizations have <br />substantial resources and advance many activities to reach their <br />goals. One activity includes ensuring that people in, or near to, protected areas have the ability to earn a good livelihood while sustainably managing their natural resources of soil, water, forests, etc. <br />Are beans the solution? No, but they can be a useful component of an overall productivity-conservation effort. To illustrate this point, we look at two types of bean research activities/ products:<br /> Better climbing beans in high-altitude regions, and<br /> New climbing beans for mid-altitude regions.<br />Until the 1980s, bush beans were prominent in Africa. Climbing beans were cultivated only in isolated higher elevation (>1800m) areas. <br />1 Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT)<br />2 Research for Development and Conservation (R4D&C)<br />3Makerere University, Institute of Environment and Natural Resources<br />4 Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA)<br />Jill Hatzal WFF<br />Foto: mongabay.com<br />Mid-Altitude environments<br />A.Farrow<br />A.Farrow<br />R4D&C<br />

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