In 2010, the Rwandan government introduced 4 high-iron biofortified varieties of bean. This was followed by a second wave in 2012, developed by the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and HarvestPlus. In 2012, 38% of Rwandan children under five and 17% of adult women were iron deficient. By 2014, more than 270,000 households or 15% of farmers were growing and eating the biofortified beans. These beans contain 14% more iron than commonly grown varieties. Given that Rwandans eat on average 200g of beans per day, the iron beans can provide 45% of their daily requirement of iron. HarvestPlus aims to continue to enrich their beans, with the goal of providing 60% of daily iron needs. The beans are also bred to be high yielding, virus resistant and heat tolerant.
Preliminary evidence shows that consumption of iron fortified beans can increase iron status in iron-depleted Rwandan women. For example, iron-depleted female university students showed a significant increase in haemoglobin (by 3.5g/L) and total body iron (up by 0.45mg/Kg) after consuming biofortified beans for 4.5 months. HarvestPlus also released iron beans in the Democratic Republic of Congo where they are being planted by 175,000 households and in Uganda, where vitamin A enriched orange-fleshed sweet potato is already widely produced and consumed.