top of page

Development of higher yielding, faster cooking and disease resistant varieties of common bean for Zambia

UNZA logo.png
23 UNZA Zambia Team_edited.jpg

The UNZA Bean Breeding and Genetics team, 2022. Furthest left: Dr Kelvin Kwanfa (PI). Back row, left to right: Albertina Kalenga (intern), Rebecca Thole (MSc student), Bethel Njobvu (technician), Miyoba Sansala, Joseph Botha (intern), Peter Daka (greenhouse assistant). Middle row, left to right: Muwinga Mulube (PhD student), Isabel Mugovu (MSc student), Lushomo Mukakanga, Swivia Hamabwe (MSc student), Lawrence Chanda (MSc student), Kuwabo Kuwabo (MSc student). Front row, left to right: Mukuni Nkandela (MSc student), Modreen Chinji (MSc student), Lomanzi Chikani (intern), Dorcas Nalwamba (intern).



Common bean in Zambia is mainly grown in the highlands of Northern and Muchinga provinces, which stretch into the Mbeya region of southern Tanzania. Despite the economic and nutritional importance of common bean in Zambia, its yield remains low due to biotic and abiotic stresses. The UNZA research team led by Dr Kamfwa is breeding common bean varieties expressing resistance to each of the diseases common bacterial blight, anthracnose and bean common mosaic virus. The current grant (2023-2026) awarded to Dr Kamfwa and his team builds on progress of previous grants.


USWK-CBB-15      ADP 355

Optimising the screening protocol for common bacterial blight in the greenhouse. Left: USWK-CBB-15 (resistant variety) and right: ADP 355 (susceptible variety).


  1. To identify faster cooking genotypes with high seed yield in the Kabulangeti, red-mottled (aka Calima) and yellow market classes of Andean beans.

  2. To introgress ANTH and CBB resistance in selected high yielding and faster cooking genotypes in Kabulangeti, red-mottled and yellow market classes of Andean beans using MAS.

  3. To map the genomic regions for cooking time, ANTH and CBB resistance in population of RILs derived from a cross of Kundalila (faster cooking) and ADP527 (a high yielding variety resistant to ANTH and CBB).

  4. To evaluate the agronomic performance of breeding lines resistant to ANTH, CBB and BCMNV developed from the previous KT-funded projects.

Achievements of past projects​

  1. Advanced breeding BC3F2 breeding lines of improved Kijivu (a variety that has the Zambian Kabulangeti seed type but is superior in productivity), carrying disease resistance to CBB and ANT were developed.

  2. 120 F5 breeding lines derived from four crosses between the ANT and CBB disease resistant Kijuvo varieties, Werna (a variety with higher agronomic performance) and USWK-CBB-17 (a white kidney line resistant to CBB) were developed using modified pedigree method. These are being evaluated for their agronomic performance to select Kabulangeti seed type genotypes that are resistant to CBB but have higher productivity than the Kabulangeti landrace or the CBB resistant Kabulangeti types developed through backcrossing.

  3. Two improved varieties were developed as replacements for the popular landraces Kabulangeti and Lusaka:  Zerengeti and Kundalila. Zeregenti has the same seed type as Kabulangeti but is higher yielding (25%) and resistant to anthracnose, a major disease of common bean in Zambia. Kundalila has the same yellow seed colour of Lusaka, but it is faster cooking, higher yielding (30%) and nutritionally superior because of its higher iron bioavailability. Zerengeti and Kundalila have undergone first year of the two years mandatory testing done by Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI) and are expected to be formally released in 2014. Seed of the two improved varieties, Kundalila and Zerengeti, were disseminated to 620 farmers in Zambia through the GCRF AgriFood Africa Innovation Award.

  4. Research to understand the genetic basis of ANT and CBB resistance in common bean variety OAC-Inferno is ongoing. 200 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) have been created for these studies. These have initially been screened for resistance to a virulent race of anthracnose. Field trials were conducted in Malashi, Mpika in the 2021-22 season. Two populations of RILs derived from two crosses (Inferno/Kijivu and Inferno/Lusaka) are currently being genotyped.



Kelvin field trials 2022_edited.jpg


UNZA antracnose screening_edited.jpg



NILs ant resi UNZA_edited.jpg




Zambia field trials 1_edited.jpg


Kabulangeti, the most popular bean variety in Zambia (i); a successful BC1 cross between Kabulangeti (recurrent parent) and G2333, donor for anthracnose resistance (ii); development of Near Isogenic Lines (NILs) resistant (R) and susceptible (s) to anthracnose (rp- recurrent parent; iii); field trials in 2021 (iv) and in 2022 with the participation of farmers in the selection of varieties (v).


Kelvin and team
Kelvin 1.png

Dr Kelvin Kamfwa

Principal Investigator, University of Zambia.

Dr Kamfwa has led the KT-funded bean improvement programme in Zambia since its inception in 2017. He holds a PhD in Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology from Michigan State University, USA, and an MSc in Crop Science from Makerere University, Uganda.


Ms Swivia Hamabwe Co-PI


Mr Mwiinga Mulube

PhD Student, University of Zambia

Maria Mazala.png

Ms Maria Mazala



Mr Chikoti Mukuma  Pathologist, Zambia Agricultural Research Institute


Mr Lawrence Chanda MSc Student, University of Zambia


Mr Mukuni Nkandela MSc Student, University of Zambia


Quantitative trait loci analysis and introgression of common bacterial blight resistance in Zambian preferred market classes of common bean


Mr Lawrence Chanda

MSc, Plant Breeding & Seed Systems, the University of Zambia, 2021

Supervisors: Dr Kelvin Kamfwa and Dr Paul Kachapulula, University of Zambia.


Mr Lawrence Chanda

Project objectives

Common bacterial blight (CBB) is a seedborne disease caused by Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. phaseoli and Xanthomonas fuscans. The disease is responsible for yield losses of 20-60% in susceptible cultivars. The project objectives are to:


  1. Screen 25 advanced breeding lines developed by the project for CBB resistance.

  2. Mapping quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated to resistance to CBB  in an Andean population derived from a cross between Solwezi (susceptible to CBB but an important market class) and AO-3A (resistant to CBB).

Progress to date

  1.  The YBC has been screened in the greenhouse for resistance to selected races of anthracnose (5, 19, 39, 183, 1050 & 1105).

  2.  A genome wide association study (GWAS) has shown that resistance to the anthracnose races tested is controlled by clusters of major genes mapping to chromosomes Pv01, Pv02 & Pv04.

  3. 150 F4:12 Recombinant inbred lines (genotyped with 6000 SNPs markers) derived from a cross between AO-3A x Solwezi and their parents were tested for their reaction to three CBB characterised isolates. The frequency distribution of recombinant inbred lines for severity scores against the isolates has been determined.









Glasshouse Zambia 2022_edited.jpg


Parent varieties: Solwezi leaves showing symptoms of CBB infection (i); Solwezi beans (ii); AO-3A plants are resistant to CBB (iii); AO-3A beans (iv); experimental set-up for testing the reaction of the RILs to CBB infection, Lusaka, 2022 (v).


  • Hamabwe, S.M., Otieno, N.A., Soler-Garzón, A., Miklas, P.N., Parker, T., Kramer, D.M., Chattopadhyay, A., Cheelo, P., Kuwabo, K. and Kamfwa, K., 2023. Identification of quantitative trait loci for drought tolerance in Bukoba/Kijivu Andean mapping population of common bean. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 136(11), pp.1-17.


  • Sansala, M., Kuwabo, K., Hamabwe, S., Kachapulula, P., Parker, T., Mukuma, C. and Kamfwa, K., 2023. Race Structure and Molecular Diversity of Colletotrichum lindemuthianum of Common Bean in Zambia. Plant Disease, (ja).


  • Siamasonta, F., J. Njobvu, S. Hamabwe, K. Munyinda, J.D. Kelly, and K. Kamfwa. 2021. Genome‐wide association analysis of resistance to aluminum toxicity in the roots of common bean seedlings. Crop Science.

  • Bassett, A., K. Kamfwa, D. Ambachew, and K. Cichy. 2021. Genetic variability and genome-wide association analysis of flavor and texture in cooked beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.).  Theoretical and Applied Genetics 134: 959–978.  doi: 10.1007/s00122-020-03745-3

  • Nalupya, Z., C. Mukuma, S. Hamabwe, D. Lungu, P. Gepts, and K. Kamfwa. 2021. Characterization of Colletotrichum lindemuthianum Races in Zambia and evaluation of the CIAT Phaseolus core collection for resistance to anthracnose. Plant Disease.

  • Binagwa, P., S. M. Traore, M. Egnin, G.C.  Bernard, I. Ritte, D. Mortley, K. Kamfwa, G. He, and C.C. Bonsi. 2021. Genome-wide identification of powdery mildew resistance in common bean. Frontiers in Genetics. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2021.673069

  • Mungalu, H., Sansala, M., Hamabwe, S., Mukuma, C., Gepts, P., Kelly, J.D. and Kamfwa, K., 2020. Identification of race‐specific quantitative trait loci for resistance to Colletotrichum lindemuthianum in an Andean population of common bean. Crop Science, 60(6), pp.2843-2856. doi: 10.1002/csc2.20191

  • Njobvu, J., S. Hamabwe, K. Munyinda, J.D. Kelly, and K. Kamfwa. 2020. Quantitative trait loci mapping of resistance to aluminum toxicity in common bean. Crop Science 40: 1294-1302.

Zambia KT team visits 2018_edited.png

The Kirkhouse Trust team visits Dr Kelvin Kamfwa's research group, UNZA, Zambia, 2017. Left to right: Dr Kamfwa; Mr Antony Bowes; Dr Robert Koebner; Professor Paul Gepts and Professor Sir Ed Southern.


Interactive Map

Location of UNZA's field trial sites.

bottom of page