Better beans for families in Kenya

by Colleen Walton

New variety of beans has potential to improve health of families

Farmers Helping Farmers is introducing and guiding 350 women farmers to grow a new variety of beans called Nyota. The beans have potential to tackle malnutrition and food insecurity in Meru County, Kenya.

This variety was developed Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and was discovered by FHF staff working on the “More Food, Better Food” project funded by Global Affairs Canada.

Beans are an important food in the Kenyan diet and Nyota beans provide extra punch.

In addition to protein, these beans provide higher than usual amounts of both iron and zinc. These two nutrients are important for the health of women and children, and are deficient in the typical diet.

Zinc is critical to boost the immunity of children to reduce their risk of getting fatal diseases, such as diarrhea, and for good bone growth to prevent stunting.

Lack of sufficient iron leads to reduced mental and physical abilities, and complications in childbirth. Eating these beans, especially when combined with soaking beans before cooking, can really benefit the health of everyone.

Nyota has good farming qualities (early to mature, blight resistance and high yielding) AND they taste good!

Not only that, because it is not a hybrid variety, farmers can save seeds for replanting and for selling within their community. In this way, the good work of Farmers Helping Farmers can benefit families beyond those with direct partnership with FHF. That is excellent news.

These beans are being planted in the short rains of March 2021, and we are excited for their potential as a sustainable solution to tackling malnutrition and food insecurity in Meru County.

This project was funded by Global Affairs Canada as part of the More Food, Better Food : Empowering Kenyan Women Farmers project.

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