MSU-1, Combining Conventional, Molecular and Farmer Participatory Breeding Approaches to Improve Andean Beans for Resistance to Biotic and Abiotic Stresses.

Michigan State University as lead university           

Expanding Pulse Supply and Demand in Africa and Latin America: Identifying Constraints and New Strategies

U.S. PI & Institution and Collaborating Host Countries

Lead U.S.:
Richard H. Bernsten, Cynthia Donovan, and Eric Crawford 
Department of Agricultural, Food & Resource Economics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

David Kiala, University Agostinho Neto, Angola
Feliciano Mazuze, Mozambican Institute for Agricultural Research
Juan Carlos Rosas, Escuela Agricola Panamericana
  (Zamorano, EAP), Honduras



  1. Angola  1.1  Identify efficiency in marketing channels and leverage points to increase farmer profits and trader volumes.
  2. Mozambique 2.1 Identify efficiency in marketing channels and leverage points to increase farmer profits and trader volume. 2.2 Develop cell phone-based information system for beans, to link farmers and traders to market prices and availability
  3. Honduras 3.1 Conduct on-farm trials to validated organic bean production practices, including organic fertilizers and pesticides based on extracts from local plants. 3.2 Provide technical assistance to farmer group interested in establishing commercial organic bean plots. 3.3 Assist farmer groups to obtain trade certification from FLO-Cert (the international fair-trade certifying agency) or another third-party certifier (e.g., Rainforest Alliance, IMO via Whole Foods Market). 3.4 Export fair-trade beans to a US retailer.
  4. Capacity Building

Problem Statement:

: Common beans and cowpeas are important crops for smallholder farmers in Angola, with approximately 36% of households in a recent survey indicating that common beans were the most important source of cash income from crops. About two-thirds of household production was sold, for those households growing beans. However, marketing constraints are clearly found in surveys in the Planalto region of the country. Looking more specifically at common beans, we find that many farmers sell into the local markets at harvest time simply because of convenience. Farmers who sell in more distant markets (27% of farmers in the region, based on survey estimates) indicate that they choose those markets in order to get higher prices, but they have transport expenses, as well as information constraints, making this marketing more costly. Some 28 percent of farmers determine when to sell their beans based on price, yet the information available to help guide this choice is limited to mostly friends, family and local traders.

Mozambique: In Mozambique, both cowpeas and common beans are marketed by smallholder producers, and the local market information system (SIMA) shows high seasonality in prices for the common bean, whereas cowpeas tend to have less dramatic variability, with more flexibility in planting seasons and locations. Cowpeas and common beans have different marketing channels, and the preliminary research on this with the market information system indicates that wholesale common bean traders often do not work with cowpeas or other legumes and prefer to specialize. Cowpea markets tend to be more localized, but recent developments suggest that new markets for processing may be arising. Research is needed to identify any new portions of the value chain for cowpeas, as well as track the costs occurring through the various channels, both for cowpeas and common beans. The formation of the bean task force was delayed from Phase I, but will be part of the efforts in the closing months of Phase I and then into Phase II of the MSU Pulse CRSP activities.

Honduras: Small bean farmers in Honduras face rising input costs and lack access to profitable markets for selling their beans. During Phase 1, field trials identified promising organic production practices for reducing input costs; and a buyer (Whole Foods Market) was contacted who is interested in purchasing/importing fair-trade beans. During Phase 2, the project will continue to validate organic production practices, finalize third-party certification arrangements, and initiate exports of fair trade beans to the US.

Target Outputs:


      • Farmers and traders in Mozambique will be better connected, ensuring market surpluses are absorbed at competitive prices, according to quality demands in the markets
      • Availability of improved seeds and their use will be enhanced through improved communications


      • In Angola, farmers will be able to market their crops to marketing channels that offer better returns


The Project will lead to development outcomes by:

    • Testing/validating organic bean production practices,
    • Extending the organic bean production practices to farmers,
    • Assisting one or more farmer groups to become fair-trade certified,
    • Exporting fair trade-certified bean to US distributors/retailers, and
    • Completing a research paper summarizing strategies constraints and opportunities for producing and marketing organic/fair trade beans.