At AGRF 2022, we were sure to spill the beans!
Tiny but mighty beans made a splash at AGRF’s 2022 Summit in Rwanda 5-9 September. The SDG2 Advocacy Hub worked closely with partners – including PABRA, AGRA, CGIAR, the Rockefeller Foundation, and WFP – to plan a series of activities to promote the importance of beans, pique interest and unify stakeholders around the rallying call of doubling global bean consumption by 2028. This included announcements of the campaign, the promotion of the value of beans, local visits to school meals projects and farms, and an exhibition of local varieties of beans on display alongside bean artwork and the campaign promotional materials.
Joining President Kagame and other past and present African Heads of State at the AGRF Gala Dinner, representatives of the Chefs’ Manifesto - Chef Alejandra Schrader, Chef Christian Abegan, Chef Dennis Prescott, and local Rwandan Chef Claude Bigamimpunzi - together with Paul Newnham, announced the upcoming Beans is How campaign. The Chefs served four diverse beans inspired dishes, promoting the beans’ nutritious and delicious value.
Beans is How is an ambitious campaign to double the global consumption of beans (as well as peas, pulses and legumes) by 2028. The campaign will look to engage key audiences across food systems and beyond to champion beans in their work: the farmers who grow them, scientists who study them, companies who sell them, chefs who serve them, and people who consume them. Everyone, everywhere has a role to play in elevating beans to their rightful place.
Rwanda is the highest consumer of beans per capita in the world, and thus the perfect place to announce the Beans is How campaign. With beans eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the world has a lot to learn from Rwanda’s example. Showcasing nine different varieties of beans purchased from Kigali’s Kimironko market, a beans pop up stand stopped AGRF participants in their tracks and served as a dedicated space to host conversations about:
- The importance of beans as a nutritious food that is accessible and affordable
- Beans as a climate-friendly and sustainable solution for people and planet
- Celebrating African ingredients and products from across the continent while promoting diverse crops and diets, especially for nutritious school meals
The stand also proudly featured a beans artwork by local artist Bernard Birasa that symbolizes beans as a powerful unifier and connector across the globe, alongside Beans is How branded banners.
Online, a holding message was released for the Beans is How website and social channels.
An article was placed in the New Times Rwanda by CGIAR on the PABRA 25 Years.
The First Lady of Rwanda, Mrs. Kagame, focused on the AU’s year of nutrition and school meals, made a commitment to continue to champion beans in Rwanda and lead the way for a continent-wide increase in production and consumption in a session she hosted for First Ladies.
The chefs and SDG2 Advocacy Hub team also joined the Pan African Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) in celebrating their 25-year anniversary. The chefs took part in panel discussions promoting beans consumption, media opportunities, and consumer behaviours, to school meals!
A delegation, including the chefs, also made multiple field trips around Rwanda to promote the values of Good Food For All and the Chefs’ Manifesto. This included:
- A visit to Farm Fresh Rwanda, a local company producing high iron beans
- A very special trip to visit Kayonza, for the School Meals Initiative where chefs met with a farmers cooperative and got to interact with farmers supplying fresh fruit and vegetables to the local school meal programs alongside the World Food Programme. They interacted with the school administrator and representative of the parents committee about how to increase nutrients whilst still making the food delicious.
- A visit with Africa Improved Foods to look at the process of fortifying staple foods, which aims to help people maximise their potential through improved nutrition with affordable, high quality, locally sourced foods.