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Improved Variety Of Beans To Help Fight Malnutrition

An improved variety of beans being developed by scientists in Uganda will boost the immunity of HIV/Aids patients and supply zinc and iron, important dietary micro-nutrients for patients with acute malnutrition.

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An improved variety of beans being developed by scientists in Uganda will boost the immunity of HIV/Aids patients and supply zinc and iron, important dietary micro-nutrients for patients with acute malnutrition.

Once farmers locally start growing the beans, it is hoped that they will be largely consumed to provide nutrients that are now commonly acquired through processed supplements.

Dr.Michael Ugen, Principal Research Officer at the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) at Namulonge, explains that locally available bean varieties are improved through a process known as bio-fortification.

This involves introducing zinc and iron components to boost the nutritious value in beans.

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Nutritionist’s advise that people living with HIV/Aids, breastfeeding mothers and patients suffering from acute malnutrition may have a deficiency in zinc and iron which is found in foods like beans, soya, fish, milk, green leafy vegetables and some animal products.

Mary Nnabagulanyi, a Nutritionist and Dietitian at Mwanamugimu Nutrition Centre at Mulago Hospital, explains that iron helps in the formation of red blood cells, it is also essential in the transportation of oxygen, lack of which causes anaemia leading to fatigue and paling of the mucus membranes.

She adds that the zinc mineral is important in the development of infants and preventing diseases like prostate cancer in adults.

Nnabagulanyi says patients with acute malnutrition stand to benefit if the bean variety is adopted as an Agricultural Intervention to Health needs.

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However Dr. Ugen stresses the need to involve farmers as end users in developing the technology. Ugen points out those farmers may resist the new varieties which do not meet their preferences.

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The project is at the field stage, but it hoped that soon farmers across the country will started growing the improved bean variety.

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