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African researchers of beans, the superfood of the future, win Al-Sumait Prize

Africa's development relies heavily on agriculture and beans are a key to the sector’s prosperous and nutritious future. Credit: Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT/C.Zanzanaini

On World Pulses Day, the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) received the prestigious Al-Sumait Prize Award in recognition of its role in bean research for food, nutrition and income security for smallholder farmers in Africa. 

10 FEBRUARY, KUWAIT – Africa's development relies heavily on agriculture, and beans are a key to the sector's prosperous and nutritious future. But to increase productivity and food security, funding for research on beans – which are a key source of protein, iron and zinc – is critical. To support scientific work on beans across the continent, the Al-Sumait Prize for African Development was awarded to the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) on February 10 in Kuwait.

The Al-Sumait Prize is awarded every year to honor individuals or institutions who have made significant advances in the fields of food security, health and education in Africa. PABRA shared the US$1 million prize, which was announced in November, with the Africa Rice Center.

"This is a great honor and major source of encouragement to our partners to do more," said Robin Buruchara, PABRA's recently retired Director, who accepted the prize at the ceremony. "This award will help us scale out and reach even more beneficiaries across Africa."

PABRA is coordinated by the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). It has released hundreds of varieties of beans that are drought-tolerant, resistant to pests and diseases, or richer in nutrients than normal varieties. The new varieties, which are created using conventional breeding techniques, have reached an estimated 27 million farmers. PABRA has about 600 partners, including universities and governments, in 30 African countries.

The award ceremony was held on the first World Pulses Day. The UN General Assembly created the day to underscore the important role pulses, including beans, can play in attaining sustainable food systems and meeting zero-hunger targets.


About the Al-Sumait Prize for African Development

The annual Al-Sumait Prize honors individuals or institutions who have, through their work or research, made significant advances in the fields of food security, health and education in Africa.

The Prize is an initiative of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir of the State of Kuwait, aimed at shining a light on those making a positive difference to sustainable development in Africa.

About PABRA

Facilitated by the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, PABRA is an alliance of research and development organizations working on beans research in 31 countries in Africa. 

For more information, please visit www.pabra_africa.org 

CONTACT:
Jean Claude Rubyogo
Seed Systems Specialist, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT
Phone: +254 722506529
Email: J.C.Rubyogo@cgiar.org

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