Genebanks play an essential role in a world where agricultural biodiversity has been lost from farming habitats, malnutrition persists as global population continues to rise, and farm productivity is vulnerable to climate change. We demonstrate the importance of the genebank of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to the development of seven iron-biofortified varieties of climbing bean and the impact of their adoption on farm households in Rwanda. First, we link iron-biofortified varieties of climbing beans directly to the genebank through pedigree analysis and key informant interviews with the breeders who developed them. Second, we apply various econometric models to test the impact of adoption on yield, consumption, and purchase of beans by farming households in Rwanda, building upon previous research on bush beans. We based the analysis on a dataset of nearly 1400 households, collected in 2015 by HarvestPlus. We found that the scope of the genetic diversity housed in the bean collection at CIAT was fundamental to developing successful iron-biofortified beans. We found significant positive effects of climbing varieties on yields; however, we did not find significant effects on the amounts of beans consumed by households or bean purchases. Our results suggest that it is possible to trace the journey of an accession from its introduction in the genebank to its final use by farmers and consumers. Positive effects on yield generate incentives for adoption of iron-biofortified bean varieties, potentially boosting micronutrient consumption. Further research is needed to understand the factors affecting the adoption and impacts of climbing bean varieties.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
These are the results of adoption after checking a sample of the varieties received by farmers against X-ray fluorescence results of iron content of beans to confirm that farmers had correctly identified the variety as iron-biofortified.
For more information on the gene pools of common beans, see Debouck (1999) and CWR (2019).
See Soren et al. (2016) for a summary of biofortification work on common beans.
Asare-Marfo, D., Herrington, C., Alwgan, J., Birachi, E., Birol, E., Diressie, M. T., et al. (2016a). Assessing the adoption of high iron bean varieties and their impact on iron intakes and other livelihood outcomes in Rwanda. Listing exercise report. Washington, D.C.: HarvestPlus.
Asare-Marfo, D., Herrington, C., Birachi, E., Birol, E., Cook, K., Diressie, M. T., et al. (2016b). Assessing the adoption of high iron bean varieties and their impact on iron intakes and other livelihood outcomes in Rwanda. In Main survey report. Washington, D.C.: HarvestPlus.
Beebe, S., Gonzalez, A. V., & Rengifo, J. (2000). Research on trace minerals in the common bean. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 21(4), 387–391.
Blair, M. W. (2013). Mineral biofortification strategies for food staples: the example of common bean. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 61(35), 8287–8294.
Blair, M. W., Díaz, L. M., Buendía, H. F., & Duque, M. C. (2009). Genetic diversity, seed size associations and population structure of a core collection of common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 119(6), 955–972.
CIAT. (2019). Beans. Cali, Columbia: CIAT. https://ciat.cgiar.org/what-we-do/breeding-better-crops/beans/. Accessed 1 December 2019.
CIAT Bean Database. (2018). Bean accessions distributed since 1973. https://ciat.cgiar.org/what-we-do/crop-conservation-and-use/bean-diversity/. Accessed 1 December 2019.
Debouck, D.G. (1999). Diversity in Phaseolus species in relation to the common bean. In: Singh, S. P. (ed). (1999). Common bean improvement in the twenty first century. Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-015-9211-6.
DHS Database. (2015). Rwanda 2014–2015 Standard DHS. https://dhsprogram.com/what-we-do/survey/survey-display-468.cfm. Accessed 1 December 2018.
FAOSTAT. (2019). Crops. FAOSTAT. http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QC. Accessed 1 December 2019.
Haas, J. D., Luna, S. V., Lung'aho, M. G., Wenger, M. J., Murray-Kolb, L. E., Beebe, S., et al. (2016). Consuming iron biofortified beans increases iron status in Rwandan women after 128 days in a randomized controlled feeding trial. The Journal of Nutrition, 146(8), 1586–1592.
Johnson, N. L., Pachico, D., & Voysest, O. (2003). The distribution of benefits from public international germplasm banks: The case of beans in Latin America. Agricultural Economics, 29(3), 277–286.
Katsvairo, L. (2014). Delivery of iron beans in Rwanda. The 2nd Global Conference on Biofortification: Getting Nutritious Foods to People. 31 March 2014. Kigali, Rwanda. Washington, D.C.: HarvestPlus.
Lamb, E. M. & Hardman, L. L. (1985). Final report of: Survey of bean varieties grown in Rwanda. January 1984–June 1985. AID-Rwanda Local Crop Storage Cooperative Research.
Mann, H. B., & Whitney, D. R. (1947). On a test of whether one of two random variables is stochastically larger than the other. The Annals of Mathematical Statistics, 18(1), 50–60.
Meenakshi, J. V., Johnson, N. L., Manyong, V. M., DeGroote, H., Javelosa, J., Yanggen, D. R., Naher, F., Gonzalez, C., García, J., & Meng, E. (2010). How cost-effective is biofortification in combating micronutrient malnutrition? An ex ante assessment. World Development, 38(1), 64–75.
Larochelle, C., Alwang, J., Norton, G.W., Katungi, E. & Labarta, R.A. (2014). Impact of bean research in Rwanda and Uganda. Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) December 2014. Rome: CGIAR ISPC. https://cas.cgiar.org/sites/default/files/pdf/SPIA_Impact-Brief-46_Jan2015.pdf. Accessed 1 December 2018.
Rodríguez, M. A., Valencia, M. C., Ramirez, H. F., Voysest, O., & White, J. (1994). Catalog of advanced bean lines from CIAT. Cali: CIAT.
Sellitti, S., Vaiknoras, K., Smale, M., Jamora, N., Andrade R., Wenzl, P., & et al. (2019). The contribution of the CIAT genebank to the development of iron-biofortified bean varieties and well-being of farm households in Rwanda. Genebank impacts working paper No. 10. CGIAR Genebank Platform, CIAT and the Crop Trust.
Soren, K. R., Shanmugavadivel, P. S., Gangwar, P., Singh, P., Das, A., & Singh, N. P. (2016). Genomics-enabled breeding for enhancing micronutrients in crops. Biofortification of food crops, 115–128. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-81-322-2716-8_10.
Sperling, L. (2001). The effect of the civil war on Rwanda’s bean seed systems and unusual bean diversity. Biodiversity and Conservation, 10(6), 989–1010.
Vaiknoras, K. & Larochelle, C. (2018). The impact of biofortified iron bean adoption on productivity, and bean consumption, purchases and sales. 30th International Conference of Agricultural Economists. 28 July–2 August 2018 Vancouver, Canada. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: International Association of Agricultural Economists.
Vaiknoras, K., Larochelle, C., Birol, E., Asare-Marfo, D., & Herrington, C. (2019). Promoting rapid and sustained adoption of biofortified crops: What we learned from iron-biofortified bean delivery approaches in Rwanda. Food Policy, 83, 271–284.
Wilcoxon, F. (1945). Individual comparisons by ranking methods. Biometrics Bulletin, 1(6), 80–83.
Wooldridge, J. M. (2015a). Control function methods in applied econometrics. Journal of Human Resources, 50(2), 420–445.
Wooldridge, J. M. (2015b). Introductory econometrics: A modern approach. Scarborough: Nelson Education Ltd..
Funding for this research was provided by the CGIAR Genebank Platform, CIAT, and the Crop Trust through the 2018 Genebank Impacts Fellowship Program. We would like to acknowledge CIAT and the staff of the Genetic Resources Program, the impact assessment team, the bean programme, and the team of HarvestPlus for providing information and sharing their expertise. We would like to thank the bean breeders who provided us with valuable information on the development of improved bean varieties. Finally, we are extremely grateful to Daniel Debouck for sharing his knowledge with us and supporting this study from its beginning.
The first author contributed to the research conceptualization and design, data gathering, data analysis, writing, and editing. The second author contributed to research conceptualization and design, data provision, and data analysis. The third and fourth authors contributed to research conceptualization and design, data analysis, writing, and editing. The last three authors contributed to research conceptualization and design, data provision, and data analysis.
Conflict of interest
The sixth author is currently the Genebank Manager of CIAT. The fifth and last authors are scientists at CIAT. The fourth author is an agricultural economist at the Crop Trust. The remaining authors declare no conflict of interest.
About this article
Cite this article
Sellitti, S., Vaiknoras, K., Smale, M. et al. The contribution of the CIAT genebank to the development of iron-biofortified bean varieties and well-being of farm households in Rwanda. Food Sec. 12, 975–991 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-020-01038-7
- Genetic resources
- Iron-biofortified bean varieties