Friday, December 16, 2016
Pre-cooked beans saving the forest .
Pre-cooked beans could turn down heat on Africa's dwindling forests as a factory in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, engage workers who steam-cook beans in big metal containers, before cooling and packaging them for sale. The beans can be reheated in 15 minutes or less, requiring far less firewood than the two to three hours it would take to cook them from scratch. This public-private initiative, being tested in Uganda and Kenya with funding from Canada’s International Development Research Centre, also aims to increase bean consumption, improve diets, and create a more profitable market for bean farmers. According to Joab Ouma of Lasting Solutions, a Ugandan company that is involved in preparing the beans, rural people usually use firewood for cooking, while charcoal is the main fuel in urban areas. Those fuels are a direct cause of deforestation, yet until now the poorest consumers “had no choice” but to use them,.Ouma said that, with the pre-cooked beans, the time needed to cook meals is greatly reduced, lowering the use of charcoal and firewood - and potentially easing the pressure on forests. In western Kenya, Siprosa Ajwang, 62, from Homa Bay County, said the new beans saved her time she used to spend in the bush gathering firewood. “I used to stay away three hours looking for enough wood to cook beans, but now it is easy because I need just a small bundle,” said the farmer who is taking part in the pilot project to grow and market-test the pre-cooked beans.more