‘Super beans’ are helping boost food rations for refugees in Uganda

Fast growing high-yield bean variety is providing South Sudanese refugees with food and allowing them to cultivate new livelihoods.


The drought-resistant non-GMO ‘super beans’ are being given to South Sudanese refugees based in Uganda to reduce their reliance on food aid and help them become self-sufficient.

Those high-yield Nabe 15 super beans are distributed to refugees by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and can be immediately planted. Developed by scientists at the National Agricultural Research Organisation of Uganda, in collaboration with the Colombia-based International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (Ciat), the new variety is sourced from the Kawanda gene bank, run by the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance.

“Uganda is currently overwhelmed by the high number of refugees, especially those from South Sudan. Humanitarian partners are finding it difficult to maintain the rations of food assistance necessary per household,” said Beatrice Okello, senior programme manager at the FAO in Uganda. “It is important that other sources of food be found to complement the food assistance.”

Uganda hosts more than 1 million refugees from South Sudan and the constant lack of funds led the World Food Programme to cut food rations last year.

“The majority [of refugees] come from an agricultural background … Providing the seeds helps them to restart a livelihood for their household and ensure food security,” Okello said.

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