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January 5th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Lominda Afedraru writes: Beans are a widely grown crop in Uganda and a key source of protein in many diets. Though they are mostly cooked, innovative ways of preparation are being explored in research and development.

One of these is as bean flour, which can be mixed with wheat to make confectionaries or mixed with millet flour to make porridge. Some process it as snacks and bean fingers, which are packaged as ready-to-eat meals.

Accordingly, scientists at National Crops Resources Research Institute(NaCRRI), in collaboration with their counterparts in Kenya, are undertaking a project in this regard. They have bred bean varieties containing iron and zinc, which will be processed as pre-cooked beans and sold in open markets in East Africa.

“Unprocessed dry beans, a traditional subsistence crop in East Africa are popular and nutritious but slow cooking food. In recent years, the rapid expansion of urban populations, rising incomes, and high costs of energy have fuelled the demand for fast cooking, processed foods,” said Dr Michael Ugen, the director of National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI), where pulse breeding is a key activity.See more