Expanding the Mungbean Network

There’s plenty of room for more countries to participate in an international network devoted to this remarkable legume.

On 23-24 April 2019, the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg) in partnership with Kasetsart University, Thailand, organized a regional workshop entitled “Enhancing farmers’ access to improved mungbean varieties and good agricultural practices in Southeast Asia.” The event brought together mungbean researchers from the public and the private sector from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam as well as WorldVeg experts to exchange information and share knowledge about mungbean production and consumption in the region.

WorldVeg presented early results of a study conducted in Southeast Asia showing the large diversity of mungbean production systems and constraints faced by each country. Interestingly, while the topmost constraints in Cambodia relate to the lack of suitable varieties and low quality seed, the top constraints in Laos relate to low prices and unstable markets, whereas in Vietnam pests and diseases are the most important issues. During the workshop, participants presented the status of mungbean production and the different uses and consumption habits (sprouts, bean, added-value products) in their respective countries, and discussed research priorities. The group identified several common areas of interest along the entire mungbean value chain from breeding, seed production and mechanization to postharvest technologies, processing and the promotion of mungbean consumption. There’s great potential for this highly nutritious, affordable and sustainable crop to improve farmers’ incomes and family nutrition in the region.

The workshop informed participants about the current status of the WorldVeg mungbean improvement program and demonstrated a selection of mungbean lines from World Vegetable Center and Kasetsart University, which should enable mungbean breeders in the region to identify germplasm for use in their improvement programs.

Although overall demand for mungbean is rising in the region, only a very few mungbean experts are present in each country. Participants saw significant benefits (e.g. mutual learning, international networking, development of collaborative research projects, exchange of germplasm and varieties) of international collaboration, and agreed to meet on a yearly basis and mobilize financial resources to support common projects.

Given the great success of the workshop and high interest of participants, WorldVeg will explore the opportunity to expand the existing International Mungbean Improvement Network (IMIN) with current and future members as well as potential funding partners. IMIN—funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)—includes Australia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and India. Organizations from the seven countries that participated in the workshop could be added to the network, which would significantly increase its scope and potential impact, and ultimately benefit farmers and consumers in 11 or more countries.

In addition to improving nutrition and livelihoods, the IMIN initiative aims to enhance international partnerships and improve regional coordination—one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (#SDG17).

WorldVeg is proud to contribute to this large-scale collaborative effort and act as a connector between the many distinguished scientists working to expand mungbean breeding, production, and consumption.

Participants discussed strategies and opportunities to increase mungbean production.

Story and photos: Delphine Larrousse, Pepijn Schreinemachers

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WorldVeg Legume Breeder Ram Nair leads workshop participants through mungbean trials.

(above and below) Taking a closer look at mungbean in the field.