The Government of Korea supports regional scientists to fight the effects of drought on beans

The Korea-Latin America Food & Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (KoLFACI) and the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT have launched a research project that seeks to build capacities in the nine partner countries, distribute improved bean varieties, and select new varieties with higher tolerance to climate change. “We are jointly creating a brilliant future for agriculture”, said the Director of KoLFACI.

Through virtual media, researchers from nine countries are meeting today to launch a collaborative initiative to face the threats of drought looming with climate change.

This is the launch of the project entitled “Research on drought tolerance of common beans in Latin America to tackle climate change”, led by the Korea-Latin America Food & Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (KoLFACI) and the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

At the launch event, bean experts from Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Peru will discuss the road map of the project that seeks to build capacities in the nine partner countries, distribute improved bean varieties, and select new varieties with higher tolerance to climate change.

Beans are a purely American crop and are an essential part of the Latin American diet, with a high nutritional value owing to their protein and mineral content, and we are working with our colleagues in the region to ensure producers’ harvests, so consumers have more access to this grain in the future.

Steve Beebe

Project Senior Researcher from the Alliance

Climate variation and occasional droughts have always been a challenge, causing instability in production and increasing retail price. Climate change threatens to worsen the situation and forecasts indicate that regions such as Central America can experience dry years more often.

Bean scarcity in the market raises serious concerns in the population and contributes to increasing the malnutrition suffered in some Latin American countries.

According to Dr. Beebe, “A common occurrence in the region is that 20%-30% of children are anemic due to the lack of iron in their diets, and this may impair their mental capacity for life. Beans are a source of iron and may contribute to reducing the risk of anemia”.

On the other hand, Choi Suntay, Director of KoLFACI, expressed his satisfaction with the project, stating that “We are jointly creating a brilliant future for agriculture”.

KoLFACI is an initiative developed by the Rural Development Administration of South Korea. Its mission is to share knowledge and experience in agricultural technology and extension services to promote sustainable agricultural development in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Thanks to KoLFACI for supporting the bean project in the region. We will have the opportunity to exchange the experiences of scientists from the Alliance and the national research programs to breed the bean crop the region needs in the post-pandemic phase. We place at the disposal of partners the best genetics has to offer a crop of such importance for food and nutritional security.

Jesús Quintana

Managing Director for the Americas, Alliance of Bioversity-CIAT