Ethiopia: Drought threatens bean supplies, farmer incomes

| October 26, 2015

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A severe drought in Ethiopia could reduce bean harvests for the millions who grow white beans and rely on the income. Researchers report that the worst drought to hit the country’s bean-producing areas in 10 years has cut yields by 30 per cent.

About three million small-scale farmers in Ethiopia rely on selling white beans to buy food and cover costs such as school fees. Thousands more are employed in processing the beans for export.

Louise Sperling is a seed expert at Catholic Relief Services. She says, “With the onset of climate change, farmers need [a wider range of] of crops to strengthen their farms against climate shocks.”

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Photo: New white pea bean varieties developed by researchers at the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research and CIAT are more resilient to drought, pests and disease. Credit: CIAT/Georgina Smith