Tanzania - Alliance Bioversity International - CIAT

The Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT has been operating in Tanzania since the mid-1980s, hosted by the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) under the Ministry of Agriculture at the Selian station outside of Arusha.

To-date, our activities in Tanzania have principally aligned around ​​common bean breeding, seed systems, forages, soil, value chains and digital phenotyping. We are also doing significant work in building resilience to climate change.  

A major goal of our work through the Tanzania office is around the production of novel climate-resilient varieties of beans. The Bean Programme is one of our notable achievements in Tanzania. The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) plays a key role in the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Tanzania as a food and nutrition security crop and as a source of income. It is the leading leguminous crop, accounting for 78% of cultivated legumes, with close to 6 million households from rural areas depending on beans for daily subsistence. Per capita bean consumption is estimated at 19.3 kg per person per year.

It is estimated that 1.2 million tons of beans are produced in the country per year, making Tanzania the top bean producer in Africa and seventh globally.

Over the past two decades, demand for common beans from Tanzania has increased for both domestic and export markets particularly Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia. The bean production area has also increased significantly between 2007 - 2022 (from 750,000 ha to over 1 million ha). Productivity has increased from 762 kg/ha to 1335 kg/ha (over 300 kg/ha increase).

In the 2020/2021 season alone, bean harvest amounted to 1,100,000 tons, equivalent to TZS 180,000,000,000 (approximately US$79,646,000). Seed production (Certified and Quality Declared classes) has increased from 542.7MT in 2015 to 8627.9 MT in 2020. The number of seed companies producing bean seed has increased from 1 in 2015 to 15 in 2022.

Tanzania - Country Profile - Alliance Bioversity International - CIAT

Lushoto, Tanzania. Credit: Georgina Smith / Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT

These achievements are attributed to various stakeholders, including scientists from public and private institutions, policymakers, farmers, and other bean stakeholders. Our role in these achievements include:  

  • Initiating bean research at the MARUKU station since 2012.  
  • Building the capacity of researchers and students. For example, between 2015 and 2023, 15 MSc and 1 PhD students are being supported by the Alliance to conduct their thesis research, additionally, the Alliance also hosted more than 12 internship students.
  • New Molecular, pathology and Nutrition labs are established at TARI Selian. These laboratories can serve all TARI centers and Tanzanian Agricultural Universities.  
  • In collaboration with TARI release of 22 new bean varieties between 2018 to 2021 which are climate smart and biofortified. 
  • Engagement of potential stakeholders to strengthen the bean value chains.  
  • Established bean corridors to intensify bean production and marketing. 

Soil health is a second major thematic area for the Alliance in Tanzania. From 2009 to 2016 the Africa Soil Information Service (AFSIS, a major BMGF-funded project) was housed out of the Tanzania offices. AFSIS resulted in some of the first continental-scale digital soil maps.

Partnership Networks

The Alliance office in Tanzania has built a robust and diverse partnership network that consists of public and private sector research and development organizations as well as several regional universities. TARI is the principal partner throughout most of our activities geared toward research and development. Other strategic partnerships include:

Different grain traders, agro-input suppliers and farmer groups including:

Program development and funding opportunities

For decades we have been able to procure significant funding for Tanzania. Significant new project funding has come to Tanzania, through the Alliance, as the donors see the confluence of need, research innovation capacity, effective corporate structures, and competent management.

The current donor investment portfolio in Tanzania is unique in that there are in-built synergies and collaborations across research levers and domain expertise. Conversations with donors have indicated that this may be a new model for further investment and have already begun discussions on new follow-on investment opportunities via the Tanzania office.

Our Tanzania office scientists have been solicited to lead new non-competitive project proposals and are in the early stages of additional non-competitive project ideation directly with donors.

Projects and Flagship Initiatives

Over the past twelve months there has been tremendous growth in the portfolio or projects operating within the Tanzania office. These include;

  •  1000FARMS (BMGF $6.8M) which focuses on developing and pioneering a network of digitally-enabled on-farm variety evaluation and testing;
  • Artemis (BMGF $5M) which is developing imagery technology to enable on-farm phenotyping;
  • Accelerated varietal turnover (BMGF $4.6M) which is developing new models to accelerate variety turnover for open-pollinated crops;
  • On-farm Genomic Selection (BMGF $4.0M), which is pioneering new methods to perform early-generation on-farm breeding, linked to genomic markers to estimate genetic correlation between on farm and on station and bean population development.
  • In addition, GxExM Innovation in Intelligence (GEMINI) sub awardee; (BMGF $ 154,100), an AI-enabled biophysical framework, integrated with genomics, that predicts yield and nutritional quality traits based on genotype/variety and location,
  • SSUCURETA (IFAD) $214,324, Supporting the recovery of priority food crop value chains from the effects of COVID 19 to strengthen community resilience, markets, and trade development in Tanzania. 


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Our offices in Tanzania

c/o Selian Agricultural Research Institute
Dodoma Road
P. O. Box 2704
Arusha, Tanzania
Phone: +255 769 539470
Contact person: Teshale Assefa Mamo ( [email protected] )

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