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NARO releases drought tolerant beans with ‘power-bank’ effect


NARO releases drought tolerant beans with ‘power-bank’ effect

Left, NAROBEAN 6 and its close relative NAROBEAN 7 are Uganda's answer to drought as well as essential nutrient deficiencies

Left, NAROBEAN 6 and its close relative NAROBEAN 7 are Uganda’s answer to drought as well as essential nutrient deficiencies

Ugandan scientists have gone a step higher in improving the lives of ordinary people by releasing two new bean varieties that are not only more nutritious but also stand up against drought.

The Publicly funded National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) that developed the varieties says that the NAROBEAN 6 and 7, are small seeded varieties that not only have
better strength to withstand heat stress, but are also high yielding and early

These varieties were released on Thursday 25, 2019 by the Variety Release Committee of the ministry of agriculture.

Dr. Stanley Nkalubo, a breeder and the Head of the Beans Programme in NARO says that
prolonged dry spells have become a regular challenge to farmers especially in the central, mid-eastern, midwestern, southwestern, eastern and northern semi-arid areas of Uganda leading to
serious bean yield losses.

“As a bean breeding programme, we set out to develop varieties that yield potentially well in the intermittent/terminal drought stressed environment of Uganda,” Dr Nkalubo adds that the two varieties grow well in all-weather but outperform other bean when subjected to heat stress.

According to Dr. Nkalubo, the two varieties can yield between 21 (100kgs) bags of beans and 38bags per hectare.

The latest product of research builds on earlier successes recorded in bio-fortification of beans that saw NARO release iron and zinc- enhanced beans.

The two trace elements are considered to be extremely essential in an individual’s health development by increasing the formation of red-blood cells, and developing and improving the functioning of a person’s immune system.

Iron deficiency is a common problem in Uganda and other developing countries that leads to lack of blood.

On the other hand, zinc deficiency is associated with growth retardation, loss of appetite, and impaired immune function. In more severe cases, zinc deficiency causes hair loss, diarrhoea, delayed sexual maturation and impotence.

With the latest beans, NARO has increased the nutritional content of beans by enabling them to absorb and store more iron and zinc from the soil.

Zinc is also considered vital in boosting a man’s sexual abilities by increasing sperm count and staying power alternatively referred to as ‘power bank’ in Kampala speak.

Containing 70ppm iron, and 35ppm zinc content in both varieties, the latest drought tolerant beans meet the recommended daily nutritional requirement for all age groups.

Dr. Nkalubo says for both varieties, the research institution is currently multiplying seed to ensure it is available next planting season.



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