RCUK-CIAT Newton Fund: Bean breeding and Adoption in changing climates in post-conflict COlombia (BACO)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: School of Earth and Environment

Abstract

Beans provide a staple food source and economic commodity for farmers across Colombia. They are a major source of protein and mineral nutrition in the diets of the rural poor. However, bean production is at risk from increasing heat and drought stress associated with climate change. Our project examines how climate information can be better used in CIAT's bean breeding program. The result will be improved resilience of beans to climate, and improved access to these improved varieties, thus in turn supporting farm income and the promotion of stability of production. This would protect these fragile communities from fluctuations and shocks within the farming systems.

The project is about opportunities as well as challenges. We will focus in part on post-conflict regions, thus having direct impacts on a number of actors within Colombia. We we look at the potential to breed and cultivate beans where coca once stood.

Since all beans are not created equal - it is the small, red varieties that are generally cultivated and sold at market in this part of Latin America - we will be sure to take account of local preferences throughout the project. In this way we will deliver improvements where they are needed, rather than using only those varieties that are easiest to breed for stress tolerance.

Planned Impact

1. How is your proposal addressing the economic development and welfare needs of Colombia?
Beans provide a staple food source and economic commodity for a number of fragile income groups. Improving resilience and access to these varieties will support farm income and the promotion of stability of production. This would protect these fragile communities from fluctuations and shocks within the farming systems.

The engagement of farmers, ex-combatants and displaced communities through producer organisations and the identification of particular incentives which may encourage adoption will provide benefits to the social capital of post-conflict areas, principally trust and encouraging support for innovation within the system.

Growing beans also provide support for household activities, in particular to empower gender. The nutritional benefits of these beans - beans are a major source of protein and mineral nutrition in the diets of the rural poor - will provide significant wider benefits in terms of prevention of health costs and further effects from malnutrtion.


2. What would the impact of your project or activity be, and who would benefit?
The extension of understanding of resilience and the focus on post-conflict regions will have direct impacts on a number of actors within Colombia. Firstly, household welfare would be improved through stability of production to ensure longer term planning, these would lead to less reliance on credit therefore reduce potential mental distress from disruptions caused by climate events. Connection within post-conflict areas to local supply chains will also provide support for local consumers, in terms of ensuring stability of supply and control of potential price spikes from these climate events. Moreover, promotion of particular traits which contribute to household reliance will provide support for plant breeders, in terms of input and selection of desirable traits to meet future demands identified from adoption. Consumers generally will be impacted from increased choice/access of particular traits and stability of supply.


3. What would success for this activity look like and how could it be measured?

Success will be measured by the strength of the relationship between parent performance (yield) and the candidate morpho-physiological traits used for selection under moderate to severe heat stress conditions, and by the yield stability (variance) of the selected donor parents under variability in stress.

The pathways to adoption of bean varieties will provide key drivers and incentives for promotion within Colombian systems. Engagement with Harvest Plus and the multiple organisations involved in producer organisation would lead to influence on policy towards beans in post-conflict areas but also the wider consideration of access and capacity, through consideration of infrastructure for availability of bean material.

Publications

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Description RCUK-CIAT stage 2 sustainable tropical agricultural systems programme. Bean breeding for adaption to a changing climate and post-conflict Colombia (BBACO)
Amount £654,258 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/S018964/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2019 
End 03/2021
 
Title Bean crop modelling dataset 
Description We have created a simulation ready data set of bean field experiments that can be used for calibration and evaluation of the DSSAT crop model. We have also compiled a data set with end of season variables that can be used to test the model across multiple environments in Colombia. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Not as yet. 
 
Title Survey Database of Colombian Bean Farmer preferred traits 
Description Adding to a annual survey of Bean growers in the Santander region of Colombia questions on preferred traits and economic risk perceptions. The survey covered 125 farmers and was used to link up preferences with household traits and climatic perceptions. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Provides further collaborative opportunities with CIAT and UK partners to support modelling of market based traits on legumes and discussion with Harvest Plus who are working in post-conflict areas of Colombia 
 
Description CIAT 
Organisation CGIAR
Department International Center for Tropical Agriculture
Country Colombia 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution A member of my time visited with CIAT and contributed towards the development of 'tidy' databases for existing field trials, greenhouse trials and weather station data.
Collaborator Contribution They provided office space and access to existing data on field and greenhouse trials.
Impact Identification of preliminary target population environments for bean breeding under future climates.
Start Year 2018
 
Description European Seminar on Behavioural Modelling Approaches 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation to an audience on application of typologies to classify climate risk perceptions. This provided an insight and a useful method for students to apply to their analysis of primary data sets covering land use and behavioural data. THe conversations led to further invitations to provided analysis code to some participants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Summer School 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This involved engaging in aSummer School at Wageningen University for assessing economics and policies, which took place in August 19-25, 2019. This allowed our collected data to be developed further for analysis and demonstrated with the group as a way to analyse primary data. Codes and support was given around the development of the work and training for undergraduates
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Summer Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact This was a summer symposium of the IATRC (International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium), which took place in June 23-25, 2019 in Seville. We presented work on Identifying the Determinants of Land Use under Beans by Colombian Farmers - this led to discussion of the approach used and allowed a wider dissemination of the ongoing work and wider issues within post-conflict Colombia.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019