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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mayaguez, Puerto Rico » Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research » Research » Research Project #442295

Research Project: Novel Climate Resilient Common Bean Cultivars for Food Security in Honduras and Guatemala

Location: Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research

Project Number: 6090-21000-063-008-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2022
End Date: Sep 30, 2023

The overall goal is to improve common bean production in the dry corridor and the humid lowlands of Honduras and Guatemala where crops are exposed to extreme climatic conditions, through breeding for high temperature and drought tolerance, and multiple disease resistance. These efforts will benefit the entire Central American and Caribbean region (CA/C). The project is organized into four objectives: Objective 1. Release and dissemination of common bean cultivars with greater heat and drought tolerance, multiple disease resistance, and enhanced commercial seed characteristics. Objective 2. Validation of the performance of advanced common bean lines for the dry corridor and lowlands of Central America in the small red, black, and white market classes that combine heat and drought stress tolerance, and disease and insect resistance through collaborative regional nurseries of common bean combined with informal training. Objective 3: Broad implementation of marker-assisted selection (MAS) using the recently developed SNP Intertek platform will accelerate the development, release, and dissemination of superior cultivars with multiple disease resistance and organization of an informal workshop held in Central America at the 2023 meeting of the PCCMCA. Objective 4: Sensory evaluation and market assessment of cultivar releases in Honduras and Guatemala to increase the uptake of improved bean varieties.

Objective 4 The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT (“the Alliance” from now on) will collaborate with ICTA and Zamorano University on market research at two different levels in Guatemala and Honduras, doing the following activities in each of the two countries. At the farmer level, the Alliance will design and implement, in collaboration with project partners, sensory evaluations to test a small set (up to four: three lines plus a check) of advanced lines (including SMN 97 and SEF 70), plus a laboratory characterization of these lines. The objective of these evaluations is to gather acceptability of the soon-to-be-released varieties on their culinary traits. Further, these evaluations will incorporate a gender and youth lens in the following ways: first, the invitations to participate in these evaluations will be extended to both men and women, and young people (15-29 year old). Second, we will collect, process, and analyze information disaggregated by these groups and combined for all groups, to learn about the heterogeneity in preferences among these populations. The implementation of these sensory evaluations will require the support of ICTA and Zamorano to identify villages and contact persons in each village to organize the activity. In each country, we expect to do these evaluations in three locations, with 60 participants per location. The characterization of the lines will be done at CIAT’s FoodLab laboratory in Cali, Colombia. At the market level, the Alliance will design and implement market assessment using rapid appraisal methods. This will require preparing a study design where we will include the strategy for identifying the main nodes along the value chain, after the production stage, and sampling strategy (we plan to use a combination of purposive sampling and snowball sampling). We expect to conduct interviews with 30-40 actors along the different nodes in the value chain to obtain information about knowledge and preferences regarding specific bean cultivars, or market classes, and any agronomic traits these actors prefer (and why), as this information will be useful for breeding programs to consider for future releases. We will also inquire about bottlenecks in the value chain and if there are gender- or age-specific considerations or strategies we need to be aware of when developing, promoting the adoption of, and consuming of improved bean varieties. In the long term, this information will help to increase the benefits these groups receive, when new and better varieties are offered to all actors along the value chain.