Beans are the leading source of plant protein for most smallholder farm families in Malawi. However, in recent times, the productivity of the crop has been declining due to deteriorating soil fertility (low N, B and soil organic carbon–SOC) and high rainfall variability. Through interventions in Dedza and Ntcheu districts of Malawi, Africa RISING has been working with smallholders to increase bean productivity through delivery of drought-resistant bush bean and heat-tolerant climbing bean varieties, under different cropping systems and different soil health management options. This poster presents the outputs of these interventions which have included: bean trials on pure stand and as an intercrop with maize combined with organic and inorganic fertilizer. The intervention also included capacity development for farmers on formal and informal seed delivery systems.
Results highlighted in this poster show that the use of inorganic fertilizer (23kg N ha-1and 21 P 2O 5 kg ha-1) under bean pure stand can increase yields by 47% as compared to the farmers’ practice of no fertilizer application. The results also indicate that under favourable rainfall conditions, climbing beans yield (2,558 kg/ha) was 59% higher than bush bean yield (1,500Kg/ha). However, under a drought season, the drought-tolerant bush bean (magic bean) performed better (1,200 kg/ha), almost 100% more than the climbing bean (627 kg/ha).
Approaches for scaling up use of the technologies included the mother and baby trials, where 239 host farmers (42 mother and 197 baby trials) were exposed to the technologies, and best-fit combinations selected during field days. Integrated community-based and formal seed systems for wider dissemination of seeds has been initiated, where 18 communities have been engaged in bean seed multiplication for the drought-tolerant, marketable and high iron bean varieties. These technologies will contribute to increased bean productivity, which will translate to more beans for food security, more income through sales and better nutrition through high iron beans.
This poster was presented at the Africa RISING ESA Project review and planning meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi, 3–5 October 2018.