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Innovative Approach on Common Bean Based Technology Generation and Promotion for Improvement of the Livelihood at Lowland Areas of Ethiopia

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Abstract

The common bean research program in Ethiopia aims at contributing to the improvement of the livelihoods of smallholder farmers through generation and promotion of improved demand driven and climate-smart common bean based technologies and information thereby enhancing foreign currency earnings of the country. To achieve these goals, the breeding program utilized different approaches which include, hybridization and selection from advanced lines introduced from CIAT and other partners to fast-track variety evaluation and registration. The program focuses on four major seed market classes that include, small/large white beans, speckled/sugar bean, small/large reds and yellow beans which feed into the local, regional and international markets. During variety generation and testing, stakeholders along the value chain are involved in planning, trait prioritization and genotype evaluation to include their preference. At the end of this demand led process, user preferred bean verities with wider choice, which are adaptable to lowland agro-ecologies have been developed. Moreover, complimentary bean management technologies and information have also been generated. In addition to technology generation, there is a deliberate effort to promote these bean based technologies using multi stakeholders approaches which bring bean farmers and their cooperatives unions, exporters and traders, public and private extension, inputs suppliers, public policy makers, public and private seed enterprises producing quality declared seed (QDS) and certified to deliver large quantity of seed to millions of small holders. The engagement of stakeholders from the beginning of technology generation to promotion has contributed to wider technology uptake. This synergetic and innovative technology generation and promotion has transformed bean productivity. For instance, in the last 12 years, yield has more than doubled (from 0.7 to 1.5t/ha) and production area expanded up more three times (less than 150, 000 ha to 520,121 ha and total production almost five fold to 568,243. The use of improved early maturing varieties has also allowed two crop seasons per year from only season. The increased production has contributed to increased bean up to 130 million USD per annum (2015). These significant enhancements in the productivity, area of production and market in beans has impacted the livelihood of bean growers in the country. The demand led breeding and value chain approach using bean innovation platform can be used as a model system for other crops. Key words: - demand led breeding, technology generation, multi stakeholders’ platform promotion, seed system,
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