Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development

Counting on Beans

Mungbean improvement in Asia

Subramanyam Shanmugasundaram, J.D.H. Keatinge, and Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes

Key period: 1980s–present

Geographic region: Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Thailand

The intervention: Partly as a result of a cross-country research program that involved farmers in the innovation process, the cultivation of mungbean—a little-known pulse crop that is high in protein, iron, and other micronutrients, and useful in maintaining soil fertility—has grown dramatically since the 1980s. The release of mungbean varieties with traits such as higher yields, short maturity times, and other characteristics tailored to different local environments contributed to yield gains of 28 to 55 percent among an estimated 1.5 million farmers. This was a key factor in the 35 percent increase in Asian mungbean production between 1985 and 2000 that accompanied a significant increase in global consumption during the same period.

Book Chapter:
Counting on Beans: Mungbean improvement in Asia
Subramanyam Shanmugasundaram, J. D. H. Keatinge, and Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes
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Discussion Paper:
The mungbean transformation: Diversifying crops, defeating malnutrition
Shanmugasundaram, Subramanyam; Keatinge, J.D.H.; Hughes, Jacqueline d’Arros. 2009. IFPRI Discussion Paper 922.
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