Improved nutrition outcomes through growing of NUA45 beans.

Following FARM Activity trainings on nutrition gardens, meal demonstrations and dietary diversity, triggered 50 farmers from Chibuwe and Musikavanhu to take 0.2ha portions of their irrigation land to plant NUA 45 sugar beans this season.

Traditionally, farmers from Chibuwe and Musikavanu have been planting white speckled sugar bean varieties for years using retained seed from the past years which compromised their production, productivity, and incomes due to poor yields. FARM Activity trainings on use of certified seed, retaining seed for only 2 to 3 years, and then buying new certified seed again have proved useful as more farmers are realising more profits through increased yields. Also evident was the fact that farmers grew sugar beans primarily for commercial purposes while overlooking the nutritional benefits. To address this, the FARM Activity promoted the growing of NUA 45 sugar beans, a bio-fortified sugar bean variety with added zinc and iron which are two micronutrients essential for improved maternal, neonatal and child health in line with the 1,000 days approach.

A total of 350 plot holders grew sugar beans last season on a total hectarage of 160ha. Of those that grew sugar beans last season, 50 farmers have adopted the use of certified bio-fortified seed. For sustainability, NUA 45 sugar bean growers have been linked to First Mutual Microfinance where they can easily access loans with lower interests for optimal production and productivity.  The farmers expect to each get a profit of between USD400 – 500 from the 0.2ha of NUA 45 sugar beans planted. To further promote NUA 45 sugar beans, FARM Activity meal demonstrations showcasing unique ways of preparing NUA 45 from FARM recipes are also conducted to farmers. Cooking demonstrations of NUA45 sugar bean sausages, fritters and muffin recipe practically demonstrate the incorporation of diverse food groups for improved nutrition in the preparation of a single meal for the attainment of a balanced diet and good health outcomes.

We gain nutritional value from NUA 45, it cooks quickly, and it tastes good. NUA 45 is very nutritious and tasty. When I cook NUA45 my family is eager to have the meal. We also use to it for cooking scones, buns and fritters, said Puzvai Mlambo from Musikavanhu B5 irrigation scheme.

Durai Muriwo ward 20, Musikavanhu irrigation B5, standing in her 0.2ha NUA 45 bean plot
Photo credit: Chemonics International

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