Eugenia Saini is currently FONTAGRO’s Executive Secretary. FONTAGRO is the Regional Fund for Agricultural Technology. She leads the investment fund and a portfolio of 70 international operations related to science, technology, and innovation for the Latin America and the Caribbean region. She is from Argentina and is an agronomist by training. She holds a doctorate in agricultural sciences, specializing in total factor productivity analysis. One of her seminal works in this field was the estimation of 120 years of TFP for the agricultural sector in Argentina. She is also a National Public Accountant and holds an MS in Food and Agribusiness and an MS in Applied Economics, both from Universidad de Buenos Aires. She has worked in the private and public sectors, both nationally and internationally, especially in multilateral banks. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship at Cornell University and, more recently, with the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy (AILA) Scholarship at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.
Mung bean: Nutrient rich legume for Senegal
February 09, 2021
By Ozzie Abaye, Professor, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech, and Ann Steensland, Lead, Global Agricultural Productivity Initiative, Virginia Tech
Since 2019, Virginia Tech, in collaboration with Counterpart International, has been investigating the potential of mung bean to address malnutrition and food security in Senegal. The project seeks to create acceptance and increase consumption in communities to address malnutrition and food insecurity.
Mung bean is a variety of pulse, the dried, edible seeds of legume plants and can be used as food, fodder, and seed. There are 11 types of pulses, each having many varieties. Dried beans, chickpeas and lentils are the most common types of pulses.
Pulses provide benefits for people, animals and the planet.
Pulses for Healthy People: Pulses are an accessible and affordable source of protein and micronutrients, including folate, iron, calcium, B-vitamins, and antioxidants. Pulses score low on the glycemic index and increase satiety, making them ideal for people struggling with diabetes and weight management.
Pulses for Healthy Animals: Pulses can be grown specifically for animal fodder and the crop residue of pulses grown for human consumption also provides nutritious food for livestock.
Pulses for a Healthy Planet: Pulses are an important part of a sustainable cropping system. They fix nitrogen to the soil and improve soil health. Many pulse varieties are drought-tolerant, making them an ideal crop for dryland regions.
In the Senegalese communities where Virginia Tech is working, mung bean is a new crop so the project is focusing on acceptance by farmers to grow the crop and consumers to eat it.
The primary objective of the project is to use mung bean to provide nutrient rich school meals to elementary school students. So far, the program has trained more than 1,000 farmers and fed 2,000 students.
The introduction of mung bean to Senegal could help sustain agricultural production through diversification of agricultural systems. It also represents an opportunity to produce nutrient-rich foods in an area that faces serious food insecurity issues.
Click on the infographic to learn about policies and investments that create an enabling environment for increasing the productivity and sustainability of the pulse value chain at large and small scales.
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