Mung4-Fe Project

Project overview

Micronutrient malnutrition is a major worldwide challenge affecting mainly women and children. Iron deficiency anemia is the most prevalent form of nutritional disorder in the world. Anemia disproportionately affects the poorest and vulnerable populations in resource constrained settings and is exacerbated by infectious diseases such as malaria.Even mild iron deficiency is associated with adverse health risks such as poor pregnancy outcome, impaired physical and cognitive development, premature deaths and a reduction in work capacity among adults. The burden of anemia in East Africa is big and is more severe and widespread in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania where the dietary intake of iron is far below the recommended levels. Interventions such as food fortification andiron supplementation have not been effective due to poor infrastructure, low purchasing power, lack of access and poor healthcare systems especially for people living in remote rural areas such as ASALs. Bio-fortification through use of micro-nutrient rich crops therefore offers a cost-effective and sustainable approach complementing the fortification and supplementary efforts by reaching remote areas. Mungbean as a pulse is proven to lessen "hidden hunger" and is a cheap source of protein, folate and iron. However, currently cultivated varieties of the crop in the region are low in iron content(<10mg/kg of grain). The Mung4-Fe project will therefore develop and promote the cultivation and consumption of mungbean (greengram)genotypes with high concentrations of bio-available iron as means of lessening iron deficiency anemia in the ASALs. 

Iron dense mungbean will also be beneficial among smallholder farmers in ASALs because of the difficulty in changing their dietary habits due to financial, cultural, regional, or religious restrictions but also advantageous for governments because it is inexpensive and sustainable compared to iron supplementation programs. 

Project objectives

The overall objective of  Mung4-Feproject is to reduce the malnutrition burden among smallholder farming communities in the drought prone areas of East Africa using iron rich mungbean varieties. Specifically, the project will address the following objectives:

1. To characterize current mungbean production systems and prevailing constraints;

2. To select and characterize advanced mungbean lines for iron content and other nutrients; 3. Develop and promote efficient mungbean processing and utilization technologies;

4. Strengthen mungbean seed production and delivery systems;

5. To develop and promote suitable production and integrated pest management packages and;

6. To strengthen the capacity and linkage among mungbean value chain actors.


Expected results

Successful implementation of the project will lead to the following results;

1.       Mungbean varieties rich in iron identified and promoted.

2.       Improved access to iron rich mungbean seed.

3.       Methods for processing and utilizing mungbean identified and promoted.

4.       Yield enhancing production andpest management practices for mungbean identified and promoted.

5.       Capacity of mungbean value chain actors strengthened.

Project partnership

Implementation of Mung4-Fe project is led by National Semi Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI) in partnership with;World Vegetable Center (Worldveg), Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO-Katumani center) and Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute-Selian Center (TARI-Selian). 

Location/areas of implementation

Mung4-Fe project will be implemented in three East African countries targeting Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) i.e Uganda (,Easternand northern regions),  Kenya (eastern,Coast, Nyanza, and parts of the Rift Valley Province) and Tanzania (centraland western regions). 

Project activities

  • Characterization of mungbean production systems and prevailing constraints in the ASALs
  • Characterization of advanced mungbean lines for iron content
  • Regional/multi-location evaluation of iron dense genotypes
  • Participatory evaluation of promising iron dense genotypes.
  • Release of high yielding iron rich mungbean varieties in the region           
  • Piloting “revolving" seed scheme in the targeted regions.
  • Development and promotion of efficient mungbean processing/utilization technologies.
  • Dissemination and promotion of appropriate mungbean production         technologies.
  • Capacity strengthening of mungbean value chain actors

Project funding

Main funding (80% of the budget) for the implementation of the Mung4-Fe project is provided the African Union Commission(AUC) while 20% will be contributed by NARO and partners.

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