KIGALI, Rwanda, November 10, 2014/ — Rwanda’s top musicians are promoting better nutrition and health through a catchy new music video that was released today (http://bit.ly/EatHealthyBeans).
The song extols the nutritional benefits of new high-iron beans that are now available in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. Almost 40 percent of children in Rwanda do not get enough iron in their diets. In severe cases, this can lower their IQs and learning capacity, resistance to disease, and energy levels. Beans are a traditional staple food and eaten every day. These new iron beans contain 15 percent more iron than ordinary beans, and can provide women and children with almost half their daily iron needs. They also yield twice the harvest of ordinary beans, increasing incomes for farmers.
More than 700,000 Rwandan farmers are growing and eating these nutritious beans, first released by the Rwandan Government in 2011. “We’ve had tremendous success so far in getting these beans out, but we wanted to reach a much wider audience across the country,” said Lister Katsvairo, who heads the Rwanda Office of HarvestPlus (http://www.harvestplus.org), a global program to improve nutrition. “These iron beans are now making their way into urban markets, so we are launching a campaign to increase consumer awareness. We worked with Rwanda’s top musicians, who cater to all musical tastes including Afro-pop, rap and R&B. Who better to spread this message of how beans can improve nutrition and health?”.
The campaign has taken musicians King James, Miss Jojo, Riderman, Tom Close, and Urban Boyzon a series of roadshows across the country where they have performed live for more than 30,000 people. The road shows included exhibitions and sales of iron bean seeds.
“We are bringing good news for all Rwandans that will change their lives once they start listening to the song, because it raises their knowledge about the benefits of growing and eating these high-iron beans. We hope that will change the lives of a lot of people in Rwanda,” said King James, an R&B artist.
“This was a chance for us to teach people how to stay healthy by eating what is necessary for their bodies—we came together to make sure that we say goodbye to malnutrition,” said Rwandan rapper Riderman.
Rwanda was the first country in Africa to officially launch iron beans developed through conventional breeding. HarvestPlus works with many partners to deploy iron beans, including the Rwanda Agriculture Board with whom they co-produced this video. The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) is also partner in developing more varieties of beans even richer in iron. Iron beans are now also being distributed to several hundred thousand farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of HarvestPlus.