New strains of beans

Photo credit: Scientific American

30 strains of heat-tolerant beans have the potential to survive and thrive with increasing temperatures.
Credit: Ervins Strauhmanis/Flickr

30 Heat-Tolerant Beans Identified, Poised to Endure Warming World

New strains of beans that beat the heat could do more than protect food security; they could even expand into new territories

Sustainable Land Management (SLM) practices

Photo credit: CIAT

Erosion impact after January 2015 flooding in Ntcheu, Malawi. Photo: J. Braslow/CIAT 

Land management matters: Malawian communities create maps to find answers


Combining traditional knowledge with new insights into sustainable land management

Photo credit: IPS

A field day conducted to share information with farmers. Credit: Lucía Gaitán

Opinion: Eco-efficient Crop and Livestock Production for Nicaraguan Farmers

For Roberto Pineda, a smallholder farmer in the Somotillo municipality of Nicaragua, his traditional practice after each harvest was to cut down and burn all crop residues on his land, a practice known as “slash-and-burn” agriculture.

A widespread practice on these sub-humid hillsides of Central America, it was nonetheless causing many negative environmental implications, including poor soil quality, erosion, nutrient leaching, and the loss of ecosystem diversity. Slash-and-burn allows farmers to use land for only one to three years before the plots become too degraded and must be abandoned.

The programme offers farmers like Pineda an easily established yet biologically complex option, combining traditional knowledge with new insights into sustainable land management to maintain crop productivity for many years.

“We used to work in our traditional way, pruning everything down to the ground, and if there was anything left we would burn it,” he said. “The land would be destroyed and things weren’t getting better.”

But about three years ago, Pineda and a group of farmers became involved in an agroforestry programme overseen by a group of partners including the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) as well as Nicaraguan, American, Austrian and Colombian institutions.

The programme works with farmers to enhance the eco-efficiency of their rural landscapes, helping them to introduce stress-adapted crop and forage options and improve crop and livestock productivity and profitability. This helps smallholders not only to improve local ecosystems but also to adapt to extreme climate conditions and safeguard soil fertility and food production over the long term.

“Now we have seen a change,” Pineda said. “We used to yield 10 quintals per manzana, and now we produce between 30 and 40 quintals per manzana. We have improved our natural resources, and trees have grown. Before, we had no trees and there was no rain.”

How it works

Read the full article: IPS

Combating child malnutrition with beans

Photo credit: CIAT blog

Beans to the rescue in the fight against child malnutrition and school absenteeism in Madagascar 

Biofortified beans to defeat micronutrients deficiencies

by Stefanie Neno


Madagascar is known for its sunny beaches and scuba diving. What many don’t know is that nine out of ten Malagasy people live below the poverty threshold, according to a 2013 World Bank report. Madagascar is among the world’s least developed countries. And the political crisis that hit the country between 2009 and 2013 caused further economic slowdown, and an increase in poverty and marginalization.×200.jpg

Half of Malagasy children are stunted due to chronic malnutrition and severe micronutrient deficiencies. “The rate of chronic malnutrition is still very high in Madagascar,” says Holy Raobelina, Coordinator of the Office for National Nutrition (ONN). “The MDG1  survey recently reported a national average of 47.3%.”


Two birds with one stone: Fighting malnutrition and improving school results

Holy is part of a team of motivated people from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Population, Social Protection and Women Promotion, who are kicking off an ambitious program to fight child malnutrition in the entire country.


This program involves reviving the national school feeding system, which was unfortunately abandoned in 2009 due to the political crisis.

To demonstrate that school canteens can indeed improve the state of child nutrition in Madagascar, a 5-month pilot was coordinated by ONN in an Antananarivo primary school between March and July 2013.

Read the full article: CIAT blog

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