Roger Kirkby


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Institution: International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Uganda



Roger Kirkby is a systems agronomist from the UK with degrees from Cambridge, Wales and Cornell. His good fortune has been to spend most of the past 30 years working in area development projects and national and international research institutes, in both Africa and Latin America. For the past 10 years he has been the Manager of CIAT's project in Africa (based successively in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda), and previously was an IDRC program officer for the same region of Eastern and Southern Africa. His main research concern is contributing to alleviating poverty through participatory technology development and dissemination.

Title: "Assessing the impact of bean research on poverty reduction in Sub-saharan Africa: Evidence from Uganda". Co-author: Soniia David.

Theme: 2E


The status of beans in many parts of Eastern Africa as the "meat of the poor" and a "female crop", makes it an ideal commodity for assessing the contribution of modern crop varieties, and agricultural research more generally, to poverty alleviation. Drawing on a longitudinal study from Eastern Uganda, this paper explores the initial impact of two diverse modern bean varieties: one highly marketable (K132) and the other high yielding, but non- marketable (K131). Due to higher yields, adopters of the new varieties ate beans more frequently and had a higher per capita consumption than non-adopters. Both new varieties, but K131 in particular, reduced women’s work load in gathering wild vegetables during the dry season . The discussion also examines the impact of the new bean varieties on production, income, varietal diversity and community empowerment. It investigates whether, and under what circumstances, wealth, market orientation and gender determine adoption trends. Methodological issues related to impact/adoption research and technology dissemination are also discussed.

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