Published at: 02 May 2023

We are informing how the production system for beans rich in iron has been generated from the research in order to lead it to scaling and recognition for its quality throughout the agri-food chain.

Technical personnel from the Institute of Agricultural Innovation of Panama (IDIAP) during the month of April 2023 made an exhaustive tour of the productive areas of beans to disseminate the objectives of the Regional Alliances project for the dissemination of iron-rich beans that is being developed in Panama, Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, under the financing of the Regional Fund for Agricultural Technology (FONTAGRO).

The objective of this project led from Panama is to publicize the importance of the production of biofortified beans (rich in iron) and additionally to make it known to consumers, informed Lic. Maika Barría, nutritionist of the institution.

In the first instance, we are reporting how the productive system of the iron-rich varieties that were generated from the IDIAP research projects has been, then we seek to scale it up, which implies making biofortified beans known to consumers and other actors within the the bean agri-food chain as well as the agro-industries and marketers, the specialist noted.

To date, at the market level, the commercialization of conventional beans vs. biofortified beans has not been differentiated and this is one of the goals, to market it in a differentiated way, highlighting the benefits that the consumption of biofortified beans has in terms of health. and nutrition. The biofortified varieties that are being promoted are IDIAP NUA 24, IDIAP P 09-11 and IDIAP P 13-38, which on average provide more than 43% iron compared to other conventional varieties.

We are doing nutritional education on the importance of iron and we consider that beans are an option, and we must take advantage of the fact that in Panama there is an average consumption of 2 to 4 times a week of mixed beans, including beans.

Producer Abdiel Miranda, from Caisán, stated that he was dabbling in these biofortified materials; He has also traditionally planted the IDIAP R2 bean variety, successfully, as has producer Alexis Villarreal. Both share the idea that the correct way to market these new materials is by offering them as a differentiated product and having a fixed market for their sale. We need more marketing and product information, were their indications.

Baseline surveys for the project were carried out in 10 producing locations, interviewing more than 130 producers from the province of Veraguas in Chitra, district of Calobre; Cañaveral, San Francisco district and Valle Alegre, Santa Fé district; province of Herrera in Las Playitas and Ciprián, district of Las Minas; Ngäbe Buglé region in Cerro Mesa, district of Mirono; Cerro Tula and Boca del Monte, district of Nole Düima and finally in the province of Chiriquí in Caisán and Río Sereno, district of Renacimiento. 

One of the next steps of the project is to complete the survey of national information with consumers, agro-industries and marketers.



Project news

Regional alliances for iron-rich beans in Latin American countries
With the support of
Fondo Coreano de Alianza para el Conocimiento en Tecnología e Innovación (KPK)