Contribution to the Pan African Bean Research Alliance PABRA

Project completed

The greatest global challenge today is how to ensure food and nutrition security of a rapidly growing human population, considering climate change and without adversely affecting the natural base upon which the production is dependent. Beans, as the most important consumed grain legume, are a very good source of vitamins, minerals, and plant derived micronutrients. Significant yield increase of more than 60% are possible, following access to and use of improved varieties coupled with integrated crop management practices.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Agriculture & food security
Employment & economic development
Agricultural development
Agricultural research
Agriculture value-chain development (til 2016)
Agricultural services & market
Business support & economic inclusion
01.01.2015 - 31.03.2023
CHF  11’600’000

Despite a remarkable economic and agricultural recovery in the past decade, increased domestic production and import efforts there are 239 million undernourished people living in Africa; during the last 20 years the number of undernourished has increased by more than 35%, nevertheless the proportion of undernourishment declined from over 32 percent to less than 25 percent. Agricultural production must more than double to sustain the projected population. Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change; crop production across the region depends over­whelmingly on rainfall.

Common bean is a strategic crop for meeting the world’s food and nutrition security as well as economic empowerment. It is a fast growing crop enabling multiple harvest in a calendar year. Climbing beans are able to yield 2-3 times more than the commonly grown bush bean varieties. Despite great achievements in the region a huge gap between the potential and the actual yield remains.


The overall goal is to enhance food security, income and health of resource-poor farmers and urban poor in sub-Saharan Africa through research and development of the bean sub-sector. In Burundi and Zimbabwe, due to political and economic instabilities, PABRA interventions will demonstrate significant impacts on the livelihood of the people through the transformation of the bean sub-sector, e.g. through the increase in yield, facilitated seed production and the release of varieties rich on micronutrients. On the whole PABRA expects to deliver products and services that will have positive impacts on the livelihood of 15 million farming households.

Target groups

The principal targets and primary beneficiaries will include women, children, people living with HIV/AIDS, rural poor, urban and peri-urban producers and consumer as well as national bean research systems. PABRA will offer products and services that have positive impacts on the livelihood of 15 million rural households.

Medium-term outcomes
  1. Increased and gender equitable access to high yielding bean varieties and productive integrated crop management technologies and related infor­mation
  2. Increased access to micronutrient rich bean products among the vulnerable groups in a gender equitable manner
  3. Increased access to profitable local and national markets in a gender equitable manner
  4. Increased access to skills, information and knowledge providing enabling environment for bean research and development

Expected results:  

  • Competitive high yielding and stress tolerant varieties are developed and options for in­creased productivity and resilience are identi­fied and promoted
  • Micronutrient rich varieties with superior agronomic traits are developed
  • Commercial and nutritious bean-based products are promoted
  • Women’s participation in research and decision making-bodies of PABRA is increased.

Results from previous phases:  

More than 3.3 mio farmers (57% women) have had access to integrated crop management. 61 multiple stress tolerant and farmer accepted bean varieties have been released, of which 19 adress niche market. More than 5 mio farmers had access to quality seed of improved beans through different strategies as the pluralistic seed multiplication approach and the small pack approach. Through the newly introduced bean platform nearly one mio farmers are linked with bean markets.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign academic and research organisation
  • Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research

Other partners

Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development DFATD, AGRA, National Governments (in kind) and others

Coordination with other projects and actors

The partnership approach harmonizes the objectives and priorities of different players allowing agreement on the different roles and responsibilities and thus capitalizing on synergies and complementarities. Synergies with SDC projects in Zimbabwe and Burundi are planned.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    11’600’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    11’636’349
Project phases

Phase 13 01.01.2015 - 31.03.2023   (Completed)

Phase 12 01.01.2012 - 31.12.2014   (Completed)