R. Chirwa; M.M. Abang; C.M. Mukankusi; J.C. Rubyogo
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A poster presented at the 2012 Global Pulse Researchers Meeting, Kigali, Rwanda- “Transforming Grain-Legume Systems to Enhance Nutrition and Livelihoods”. Abstract: Breeding for high levels of resistance to a combination of biotic and abiotic stresses, as well as development of micronutrient-rich and niche markets varieties are among the major objectives of PABRA’s (Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance) breeding strategy. Within PABRA, the capacity of NARS to conduct bean R4D varies from country to country – ranging from a single scientist working on a range of legume crops in some countries to large multidisciplinary teams focusing on common bean in other countries. This raises the need for collaboration through networks, which bring together national bean research programs of varying capacity to share germplasm, knowledge, and technical expertise. This poster presents the breeding strategy used by PABRA to develop improved bean varieties. The strategy involves the paradigm shift from a monolithic approach where varieties were bred for yield or resistance to single environmental stresses, to a grain type-led and market-driven approach. Core guiding principles of PABRA’s breeding strategy are the division of responsibilities among CIAT, NARS and other partners as well as participatory plant breeding and participatory varietal selection. Marker assisted selection is used in those cases where reliable markers for target biotic constraints are available and could be used routinely in the breeding programme. This strategy led to the release of over 200 varieties during 2003-2011, including bean varieties with resistance to multiple constraints (biotic and abiotic), high iron and zinc Content, and those for specific niche markets.