Identification and repatriation of a lost treasure
Filsan is a superior variety of mungbean which is characterized by high yield potential, larger seed size, early maturity, and better cooking qualities compared to local varieties. It was originally introduced and tested at the Bonkaay Dry Land Agriculture Research Station, but after the collapse of the government in 1991 and the attendant collapse of those national institutions providing agricultural services, the plans for the introduction of Filsan at scale level were shelved. Filsan seed became mixed with local varieties and planting of the pure variety was no longer possible.
In 2002, SATG became involved in identifying the Filsan seed pedigree and tracing it back to its origins. SATG obtained a small amount of Filsan breeder’s seed from AVRDC (Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre) in Taiwan and began multiplying it at an experimental station in Minnesota, USA. Further multiplication took place in Kenya in 2004 with the support of ICRISAT. Finally, in 2005, SATG was able to repatriate 110kg of Filsan seed to Somalia for further increase and distribution.
SATG continues to test and promote Filsan mungbean in Somalia, including recently as part of its work on preserving plant genetic resources which is being carried out in partnership with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).