Food security is a major concern of the world, especially among the poor in developing countries. Pulses, including dry beans, play a crucial role in ensuring food security, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa where over 200 million people depend on beans as part of their main diet. In Rwanda, dry beans are an important staple food and constitute the primary source of protein for about 90% of Rwandan households. Unfortunately, dry beans are a slow-cooking food, requiring a lot of time and fuel to be ready for consumption. This makes them an indirect cause of deforestation and air pollution. To counteract this disadvantage, the concept of precooked beans was introduced in Rwanda in 2009, although their use has been dismal. The current study, therefore, sought to identify challenges hindering their use and evaluate potential economic and environmental effects of their use among boarding secondary schools in Rwanda. A multiple sampling technique was used to acquire proportionate sample of 64 boarding secondary schools. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from caterers of those schools. Data was processed and analysed using management tools such as SPSS, STATA and Ms Excel for descriptive statistics, logistic regression and partial budget analysis, respectively. The results showed that the major constraints to the use of precooked beans in schools were lack of sufficient information, perceived high price, unavailability and the sustainability claims about precooked beans industry. Factors such as the education level of caterer, type of institution, geographical location of institution, size of institution and perceived high price of precooked beans had a statistically significant influence on the willingness of schools to use precooked beans. Partial budget analysis revealed that in average, in a school of 478 students, the total cost of consuming precooked beans was Rwf 1,588,535 (USD 1,847) per month, which is Rwf 270,919 (USD 315) higher than the total costs of consuming dry beans. In relation to environmental effects, results showed that in average, precooked beans consumption in one school of 478 students would save about 27.04metric tons per month. This implies that the use of precooked beans in secondary schools would reduce the imbalance between annual wood demand and supply by 17.1% on average. Thus, the government should recognize the environmental benefits of precooked beans adoption in schools and consequently subsidize precooked beans in schools to an affordable price. Further, it should come up with policy to enlighten schools about the damaging effects of environmental degradation.

Background of the study 
Food security is a major concern of the world, especially among the poor people living in Sub- Saharan Africa (SSA) and other developing areas of the world. It is for this reason that the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) aims at attaining zero hunger in the world (WHO, 2015). In 2016, the number of undernourished people was estimated at 815 million worldwide with 224 million of the undernourished people living in Sub-Saharan Africa (FAO, 2017). This high level of food insecurity in SSA is mostly attributed to increased population, which leads to higher demand for food than supply, thus causes rise in food prices (FAO, 2017). Climate change is also considered as the major source of food insecurity in SSA for it causes severe droughts and floods which bring about heavy losses to agriculture and hence food production (Sasson, 2012). Another key cause of food security in SSA has been identified as post-harvest food loss and waste for about 1/3 of food is lost during production or transportation (FAO, 2016a). 

In addressing global food security, pulses have been recognised by United Nations as the potential crops to play this role (FAO, 2016b). Pulses are an affordable source of protein as compared to animal products, and a good source of minerals (FAO, 2016a). Besides, pulses contribute significantly to climate change mitigation. That is, they supply their own nitrogen and contribute nitrogen to ensuing crops through their fixation of atmospheric nitrogen in soils. This, in turn, reduces required fertilizer, hence, lowers greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural production (Singh et al., 2016). Furthermore, pulses minimise food wastage as they can be stored for long periods without being spoiled (FAO, 2016a). Pulses or grain legumes include among others dry beans, soybeans, cowpeas and lentils. 

Dry beans are particularly important because of their naturally nutritious nature. They are a good source of protein, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and essential minerals such as manganese, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium (Akibode and Maredia, 2011). They have low saturated fat content (Messina, 2014). They are, therefore, of particular importance in the diets of low-income households around the world which cannot afford to buy animal products (Akibode and Maredia, 2011). Hence, they are often referred to as “poor man’s meat” (Larochelle and Alwang, 2014). Common beans have the advantage of providing a range of food products as they can be consumed as leaves, fresh pods, fresh grains and dry grains (Nsengiyumva et al., 2017). Fresh pods protein is high in lysine, which makes it a good complement to starches like maize, cassava and rice (Munywoki, 2017). 

Moreover, beans provide many potential health benefits, including reducing cardiovascular, cancer and diabetic risks (Winham et al., 2016). Dry beans have a low glycemic index due to their richness in complex carbohydrates and vegetable protein and this makes them a perfect food for managing insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia and diabetes (Foster-Powell et al., 2002). It has also been reported that consuming dry beans four or more times per week reduces heart disease risks by 22% (Winham et al., 2016). Further, apart from playing a crucial role in reducing the risks of chronic diseases, dry beans have been reported to have an anti-obesogenic activity due to its effects on cholesterol metabolism (Zhu et al., 2012). 

Among pulses, dry beans are the second most produced pulse worldwide after soybeans, whereby in 2016 their production was 26,833,394 metric tons (FAOSTAT, 2018). They are produced across the world with the major production being from Asia and Latin America (Sousa, 2017). Though the largest quantity of dry beans is produced by middle and developed countries, dry beans are mostly consumed in under-developed and developing countries (Rezende et al., 2017). In Africa, dry beans are the most important grain legume with their production coming primarily from small-scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and assumed largely for subsistence (Wortmann et al., 2004). In 2016, dry beans production in Africa was estimated to 6,489,138 metric tons (FAOSTAT, 2018). Dry beans are one of the most popular traditional diets in East African countries and over 200 million people living in Sub-Saharan Africa depend on them as a primary staple (Malyon, 2014). 

In Rwanda, dry beans are the third most produced crop after bananas and cassava. In 2016, dry bean production was 437,673 metric tons (FAOSTAT, 2018). They are grown in all the regions of the country, contributing greatly to the employment and income of about 80% of small holder farmers (Akibode and Maredia, 2011). Dry beans serve as an important staple in Rwandan diet and constitute the primary source of protein for about 90% of Rwandan households, with the daily per capita consumption of 80 grams per person on average (FAOSTAT, 2012). Indeed, Rwanda and Burundi have the highest per capita bean consumption in the World (NAEB, 2012). As such, beans, in Rwanda, are one of the crops that are part of the government’s Crop Intensification Program (NAEB, 2012) to ensure food security for all. 

However, despite these comparative advantages and consumer preference for freshly cooked beans, cooking traditional dry beans is considerably time and energy consuming. Dry beans take approximately three hours to cook (Aseete et al., 2018) and consumers incur considerable costs to buy energy necessary to prepare them. Wood, either in the form of firewood or charcoal, is the main source of energy for their cooking for about 80% of Rwandan population (Uwisengeyimana et al., 2016). In rural areas, though generally the amount of money incurred in getting cooking fuel are minimal, women spend many hours collecting firewood to cook dry beans (Aseete et al., 2018). Those fuels directly cause deforestation, and air pollution from carbon emission, which in turn lead to environmental degradation, climate change and poor health. 

Since the last decade, deforestation has been of much concern for the government of Rwanda. In fact, from 1990 to 2007 the country has known a massive deforestation due to rapid population growth which has resulted in several negative effects including soil erosion, flooding and climate change among others (Nduwamungu, 2011). From 2008, the government has been addressing this problem of massive deforestation through afforestation and reforestation (USAID, 2017). However, despite great efforts that are being put in conserving forests, the population’s demand for wood, either in form of timber, firewood or charcoal, is far greater that the supply (MINIRENA, 2017). This high demand for forest products leads to overexploitation of forest especially in private owned forests and this in turn leads to deforestation. 

To deal with the issue of deforestation resulting from cooking purpose, the government collaborated with the private sector through its Programme of ‘Made in Rwanda’ in which it is encouraging and supporting private investment. Hence, in 2009, Rwanda Agribusiness Industries Limited introduced precooked beans as a solution to increased wood use, though the company closed in 2015 due to mismanagement (Farmfresh, 2017). In the same year, a new company producing the same product, Farmfresh Food Company, was started in Rwanda and continued the precooked beans production (Farmfresh, 2017). 

Precooked beans are processed beans which require 5 to 15 minutes to be ready for consumption (Aseete et al., 2018). Although precooked beans industry has enough processing equipment to sustain the market, its products are not familiar to consumers, thus their current production is about 100 metric tons per month (Farmfresh, 2017). Precooked beans industry sources raw material (dry beans) from Sarura Cooperative and hence contribute significantly to the socio-economic benefits of the cooperative members through improving their income and providing employment (Farmfresh, 2017). 

Precooked beans are produced using electricity and since they are pressure-cooked in bulk, using energy efficient facilities, low energy is used to cook them. Therefore, their use can be financially and environmentally profitable (Aseete et al., 2018). Precooked beans in Rwanda have a great number of potential consumers including over 1.2 million people counted in the middle class (Farmfresh, 2017) and institutions serving beans to a large group of people. Thus, the use of precooked beans by those consumers would considerably ease the pressure that is being put on forests. Furthermore, time otherwise spent in cooking dry beans would be significantly saved and can be used for other economic activities. 

Institutions feeding large groups of people such as schools are one category of big consumers of beans. By consuming beans in bulk they use huge quantities of firewood (REMA, 2009). Thus, by shifting from consuming traditional dried beans to consuming precooked beans, they are also likely to reduce considerably the wood fuel used to cook beans. Moreover, all costs associated with getting the wood fuel, the quantity of water required, the amount of labour used for cooking beans as well as the time spent in cooking beans will be significantly reduced. This, in turn, will greatly help the government to conserve the environment. 

Statement of the problem 
Today, the government of Rwanda is greatly concerned with the problem of deforestation, driven by high demand for wood products, especially charcoal and firewood. The concern arises from the feeling that deforestation is a main source of climate change which is hindering agriculture production, thus compromising attainment of food security. One area of specific concern is the high and inefficient wood fuel use in at least 90% of households and institutions in the cooking of some food products including dry beans. Though beans are central to attainment of food security, the long time it takes to cook them is in particular a major cause of massive deforestation. To counter this, precooked bean products were introduced in Rwanda in 2009. However, their rate of use is still low and this may be due to the fact that their benefits are not well known. This study, therefore, intended to identify challenges hindering the use of precooked bean products among boarding secondary schools in Rwanda. Likewise, it intended to evaluate the environmental and economic benefits that would result from shifting from dry beans to precooked beans consumption. 

Objectives of the study 
General objective 
The general aim of this study was to promote environment friendly consumption patterns among Rwandan institutional consumers through revealing potential economic and environmental benefits of using precooked beans. 

Specific objectives 
i. To identify constraints hindering the use of precooked beans among schools. 
ii. To determine factors influencing the willingness of schools to use precooked beans. 
iii. To evaluate potential economic and environmental effects of shifting from dry beans to precooked beans among schools. 

Research questions 
i. Which constraints have hindered the use of precooked beans among schools? 
ii. What factors influence the willingness of schools to switch from dry to precooked beans? 
iii. What are the economic and environmental implications of using precooked beans? 

Justification of the study 
Energy is considered by the Government of Rwanda as a key factor of sustainable development. However, most of the energy sources in Rwanda such as hydro sources, methane gas, solar and peat deposits are not yet fully exploited. As such, wood is still the main source of energy for 80% of Rwandan population, being used mainly for cooking purpose. This has resulted in a massive deforestation across the country as well as indoor air pollution, with consequent effects on the environment. To counteract this, one of Rwanda’ s Vision 2020 energy targets is to reduce wood fuel consumption from 94% to 50%. To achieve this target, the government is encouraging the use of gas and other alternatives. However, due to the long duration of beans preparation, it is too costly to cook them using gas. As a result, they are still mostly prepared with wood. This represents a great limitation to the achievement of the wood fuel target since beans remain the staple food for households and institutions in the country. 

Findings from this study contribute towards the development of short and long-term policy interventions aimed at lowering pressure on the forest resources in the country. Also by informing about the benefits of precooked beans, the findings of the study encourage people to shift from consuming dry beans to consuming precooked beans. Thus, this study contributes towards conserving environment, saving time of individuals and institutions and sustaining the manufacturer’s business. Moreover, the results of this study also provided insight towards further studies in related areas. 

Scope, limitations and assumptions of the study 
Scope of the study 
The study was carried out in sampled boarding secondary schools across the country and the results can be generalised to other institutional consumers of beans. 

Limitations of the study 
The collected data was limited to cross sectional data. Another limitation of this study is that it does not involve individual consumers while they are the potential consumers of precooked beans too. 

Assumptions of the study 
The study assumed that all the sampled boarding secondary schools consume beans. It also assumed that all the sampled boarding secondary schools have not yet used precooked beans, reason why the study is an ex-ante evaluation. Further, the study assumed that all respondents have at least a secondary school education level. 

1.7.Definition of terms 
Institutional consumers: refer to institutions that usually feed people they are in charge of. In this study, institutional consumers are boarding secondary schools and people to be fed are students. 

Dry beans: known as Phaseolus vulgaris L. are common beans that have been dried in order to preserve them for future use. 

Precooked beans: refer to packed beans that have been processed using pressure cooking and that require 5 to 15 minutes to be reheated before consumption. 

Ex-ante evaluation: is the examination of the anticipated impacts of a planned programme or project. 

Compatibility: refers to the degree to which a given innovation is perceived to meet consumer needs. 

Complexity: is the degree to which consumers perceive an innovation as relatively difficult to understand and use. 

Relative advantage: refers to the degree to which an innovation is perceived as being better than the preceding or competing product(s). Caterer: in this context is defined as the person who makes decision of what to buy for students’ food consumption (i.e head masters/mistresses or caterers).

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 72 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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