Lifestyle African countries hope to solve famine and drought problems with 'Super Beans'

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New genetically altered bean may be solution to drought and food shortage in Africa.

Many African countries hope this crop will address famine and drought. play

Many African countries hope this crop will address famine and drought.


After becoming popular in Uganda, the genetically altered 'super bean' is providing a solution to other African communities that are struggling with famine.

According to the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP), Africa is expected to be hit hardest by climate change even though the continent produces less than 4 per cent of the world's greenhouse gases and 'super beans' may just be the answer to this approaching problem.

Famine reoccurs as a result of drought, conflict or instability which leads to severe food shortages. In the case of drought which is caused by below average rainfall, when it happens consistently it leaves the communities unable to regain control to recover from the last episode.

It makes it harder for communities to recover as they are constantly faced with challenges like funding.

According to the U.N. children’s agency, an estimated 1.4 million children are likely to die this year from famine-like conditions in South Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria alone.

How will 'super beans' improve lives?

'NABE15' or more commonly referred to as 'Super beans' are beans genetically manipulated to grow specifically in the driest of locations to help provide a supplement for resources. 'Super beans' have been said to mature faster than normal beans and also are of a high yield variety.

The International Center For Tropical Agriculture (ICTA), runs two "gene banks" where the beans are bred. One is located in Malawi and the other is near Uganda’s capital, Kampala, where 1 million refugees have migrated from war-torn South Sudan.

It has been said that the red-striped super beans are valuable because of its resilience to grow in even the driest locations and also its ability to quickly cook.

The 'Super beans' also are highly resistant to major crop-killing pests and crop diseases hence guaranteeing a higher yield.

The shiny red color is attractive and its taste has been said to be sweeter which makes it a more attractive food supplement.

Relief workers have high hopes that the beans will also encourage refugees to grow their own food rather than rely solely on handouts from charity organizations which are sometimes stopped due to funding shortages.

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