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CV / Profile of Professor Colin Leakey

LEAKEY, Dr Colin Louis Avern. M.A.,Ph.D (Cantab), DTA(UWI),
Fellow of the Society of Biology.
Chairman (East Midlands 2009-
British.  b. 1933, Cambridge.


Home schooling, Keswick High School, Moffats prep school and Gresham’s School Holt.

National Service  

1952-1954 Probationary writer rising to Sub-Lieutenant (S) RNVR and for some time on personal office staff in Malta of Lord Louis Mountbatten, at that time C-in-C Mediterranean both Royal Navy and NATO.


1955-1959 Cambridge. BA Natural Sciences 1958, and consequently M A 1963; Ph.D  1972 (by the Alternative Statutes route i.e. by publications between 1960-71).  

1959-60  plant pathology special training Exeter University, Hatherly Laboratories under S.A.J. Tarr  recently  Government Plant Pathologist in the Sudan

1960-1961 University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad. Post-graduate Diploma in Tropical Agriculture-Plant pathology specialising. (DTA with credit)  - Two Projects one on Colletotricum and one on Amerindian agriculture, contributing to outcome.

1972 Lund University and Svalof Research Station, Sweden. Participant at senior scientists training course in mutation breeding and associated technologies. (The International Atomic Energy Authority)

1973- 1974 Visiting Fellow, Kings College Cambridge,

1974-1977 The University of Strathclyde . Visiting Professor

1974 Member of the Intermediate Technology Development Group (until HQ moved out of London)

1975 Elected, Fellow of the Institute of Biology now Society of Biology
    2009  Elected Chairman of East Midlands Branch of Society

1975-1977 Attended two courses on Economics and one on Mexican and South American pre-history by Lecturers given by the University of the Third Age in Cambridge

1978-1979  Delivered over two terms, a twenty lecture course for The University of the Third Age in Cambridge. The course was entitled Man, Food, Diet and Health. (A simplified course of the same title was later given to a branch  of UTA in Lincolnshire.)

1990  Meritorious Service Award from the Bean Improvement Cooperative.(at Toronto.)  

2010  and current The University of Lincoln.  Visiting Professor of Biology attached to the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science

Salaried Posts

1961-1965 Government Plant Pathologist, Kawanda Research Station, Uganda Ministry of Agriculture. - On secondment from The Commonwealth Mycological Institute, Kew.

1965-1970  Senior Lecture in Crop Science (Crop genetics, plant breeding and pathology), Makerere University, Uganda (Rockefeller Foundation funding)

1970-1973  Reader in Crop Science, Makerere University (Special Commonwealth African Assistance Plan funding) including supervision ( two jointly) of four successful Ph.D’s and three MSc’s and many 3rd year student projects.

After Uganda (left when expatriate staff funded by UK were withdrawn during the Idi Amin affairs) – Became a self employed Independant Consultant and Freelance academic.

1973 Invited participant to Initiating Seminar of CIAT. the Centro International de Agricultura Tropical at Cali Colombia (contributing two papers)– Feb 26- March 1st

1973 Academic visits and lecturing on both beans and orchids at research institutes in Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica1973-1974
While a visiting Fellow, Kings College Cambridge, contacts and invitations to discuss consultancy possibilities to make beneficial use of my tropical experiences.( see list following)

1974-1977 While at the University of Strathclyde as Visiting Professor, (Phytochemistry group) Department of Pharmacy.- Carried out laboratory and other studies on the laboratory and possible industrial scale extractions and potential use of an arabinoxylan gum from pea husk and also served as an External examiner of a Ph.D thesis on Summer Savory Satureja hortensis.   

In the years following my 1979 visit to Chile  I developed ‘Sandoval’ quinoa from a Chilean landrace. cultivar ‘Sandoval’ is sold by J K King, now part of Frontier Agriculture as a game cover species and earns licence fees. (It still could be made a UK food crop)

1986 to present – Founder and Chairman of small Research and Development Company, Peas and Beans Ltd.
The company is a micro Research and Development company registered in Scotland (S90032). The company, which has no employees, operates through a Consortium including a seed company in Lincolnshire (Seeds Express of Horbling. A food company in Cambridgshire (Phaseolus Ltd) and a group of farmers in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.  
In 2000 Our company (actually Colin personally) was invited to be a member of the Novel Crops Steering Group  set up by ADAS to bid (successfully) for European funds to support diversification of cropping in Fenland ‘skirtlands’. This proved crucial to development that has followed.

2010 Bean demonstations at PGRO

2010-2011 Liaison with National Trusts Home grown food programme at Clumber Park in relation to beans as a locally produced food and its cooking


Retained Consultancies

(which provided for some regular income assurance)

1973-1974  Hunting Technical Services Ltd.- Crops specialist  participant in Agriculture and Foods Sector Study teams for Integrated Economic planning in South Thailand.- World Bank Projects. Tropical Fruits and Agricultural Research studies undertaken.

1974-1979 W.J. Unwin and Co. Histon, Cambs. Vegetable crop selection especially of  beans and peas for cataloguing.

1974-1978 H. J. Heinz Ltd. – General advice on beans from the agricultural standpoint. Field Studies and enquiries with HJH’s staff in Portugal, Ethiopia, South Africa and Chile.   I had previously having had beans which we had bred and grown in Uganda evaluated by them and subsequently have had our red-seeded and yellow-seeded dry beans favourably evaluated in their laboratories at Wigan. (However they buy by shiploads not kilos or even tonnes!)

1975-1980 CIAT -International Centre for Tropical Agriculture, at Cali Colombia. As Genetic resources consultant, research programme commentator and germplasm collector in Spain, Portugal and Burundi.

1978-1982 Wimpey Agricultural Laboratories, Hayes Middlesex for irrigated crops, -  water requirements and quality and plant physiology under near desert conditions. (use of  satellite imagery)  Projects in United Arab Emirates (for the Royal Family) and Oman

1979- 1985 Claeys Luck SA of Lille . One of the largest French private sector seed companies, (working at their research stations near Angers, Saumur and in the Gers, France). Associate researcher in Beans, Soya and Pea breeding programmes and training of Claeys staff in breeding and field plot work technology and analysis.

1977-1983 ICL (International Computers Ltd) as a member of the SCAPA project team (System for Computer-aided Agricultural Planning and Actions)- Wide ranging activities and visits within this Project: Malaysia rubber replanting. Philippines – Tobacco smallholders. Windward Islands – Banana growers. Bulgaria –Agrocomplects possibilities for conversion to western norms. Hungary Agricultural planning. Egypt Agricultural Planning. Zimbabwe –Resettlement support for ex-soldiers.  Malawi –planning support for smallholders. China – Computer uses in Agriculture(including computer interpreted including satellite imagery)

           (Information on non-retained consultancies follows later)

Academic lectures and major conference presentations

1974  Invited review lecture on tissue culture and potential uses as part of strategies in practical plant breeding, University of Nottingham Sutton Bonington  campus (this which I believe broke new ground remained sadly not offered for publication)

1975 Inaugural Lecture at University of Strathclyde, entitled Destructive phytotechnology for economic development. (was published as a pamphlet I no longer have – only typescript)

1982 An invited paper delivered at the First South East Asian Conference on Computer Applications, Kuala Lumpur.   New approaches to agricultural information.

1985  University of Sussex- Presentation on ‘Biomass’ at a Conference on Seasonality and Poverty.

1994 University of Minsk, Belarus Acadamy of Sciences.   Beans as a crop for diversified development.

1997 UCL/The Post graduate medical school, Hammersmith.  Stem cells and their mitochondria - potential problems of heteroplasmy and genetic incompatibility.
Attendances (with papers) at The Bean Improvement Co-operative Conferences in the USA, Lincoln Nebraska  1991,Toronto/Guelph 1995 and Calgary 1999

Other (ad hoc) Company consultancies

Sir Murdoch Macdonald and Co – Studies in agricultural and horticultural crop planning planning for irrigation  area projects in Iraq (East Gharaf), Sri Lanka ( Uda Walawe) and at Sag el Nam near El Fasher in Darfur, Western Sudan for potential irrigated horticulture in the foot-slopes of Jebel Mara (involving novel interpretative use of satellite imagery

ERCON ( Energy and Resources Consultants of Bracknell)  Participation in a pre-investement study for Soya Industries Sendirian Berhad for a large scale farming enterprise based on soya production in Pahang. (March 1976)

Norman and Dawbarn Architects Partnership (ca 1976) Assistance in planning and physical design schemes for a competitive tender for a Museum of Irrigation and Agriculture for Baghdad.

Electrowatt (Switzerland)- (1978)An agro-ecological study for resource management and rice double cropping in the Bassin d’Anambe, Cassamance Province,  Senegal . October 1978

Harald Engel and Co (Chile) – (1979) A study of the current situation, problems and prospects for development of pulse crops in Chile.

Chemeron Ltd (1978) (with Eric Miller) Kenya Design for the small scale irrigated agro-horticulture associated with the design and construction of a small rock-fill dam on the Chemeron river in N Kenya. September-October 1978 (The dam and works were built)

The Gallman Foundation  Kenya. Botanical resources identification and evaluation for development combined with conservation in Laikipia

RISDA (Rubber Smallholders Development Authority, Malaysia) – A contribution towards planning for further economic benefits for Malaysian rubber smallholders.  A major study undertaken by invitation having worked already with RISDA within the ICL SCAPA studies the previous year.

Cagayan de Oro Vanilla Development Project, Philippines.- A design for demonstration and experimentation of methods of managing vanilla on a large industrial scale making use inter alia using the SCAPA action list system in an experimental design situation.

Voluntary Sector Consultancies

BESO ( British Expert Services Overseas) for Soya North  (3 consecutive studies in Belarus on the soybean development, the situation in the oil seeds processing industry in Vitebsk and work in the Chernobyl fallout zone.

UWESO (Uganda Women’s Efforts to save Orphans) – Beekeeping development and the design of a Project for women to process and pack honey as a small-scale industry.

UN Authorities, Banks and University consultancies.
I have accumulated experience and involvement in all the stages of the so-called ‘Project Cycle’ from pre-feasibility through to ex post evaluation.

FAO (1981)  (Pre-feasibility project identification for Integrated Rural Development Project Southern Tanzania)

IBPGR (International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, Rome)- Phaseolus bean

UNIDO ( on behalf of  ITDG) –(Pre-feasibility) Appropriate technologies for small businesses in the food,  agricultural, and rural energy sourcing technologies. Geneva)

UNICEF (Evaluation mission of five years of funding and outcomes of Village Technology projects in Eastern Africa)

The Inter American Development Bank with CIAT – A study of the status of the Breadfruit in the Caribbean – studies in Guyana, Trinidad, Tobago, St.Vincent, Monserrat, St Martin and  Jamaica.- Reporting to Washington directly
A broad historical and resource study of this under-developed food crop.

Asian Development Bank/UNDP  (A planning team member for cropping  Indonesian Transmigration project in South East Sulawesi .

ADB (Asian Development Bank) (Project appraisal mission-Horticultural Development in Indonesia)

World Bank/IDA (International Development Authority, Washington) (Supervision missions to five Integrated Agricultural Development projects in Sri Lanka)                                                                     

Thailand Ministry of Education (directly recruited) – Associate co-planner (Project preparation)  for The Prince of Songhkla University, Haad Yai,  Faculty of Natural Resources. –The Faculty went ahead.

University of Bauchi, Nigeria (directly recruited) –Assessing proposals for the siting and equipping of an agricultural campus. The opinion, which was accepted, was NOT to do so for lack of sufficient water.

Political and Commentariat

1985.  Candidate in the European Parliamentary election of 1985 (Constituency challenges including The Sizewell B power station enquiry and fuel cost problems of the Lowestoft fishing industries and Cambridgeshire glasshouses)

1998  Respondent to the BSE (Phillips) Inquiry on BSE –Statement 458 on public record

2002-2003  Lincoln Stop-the-War Campaign activity and (web) published letter to Hans Blix. And a letter published in The Guardian on “UNSCOM’s Evidence” February 22nd 2003.

2010 Submitted dossier, Chilcot Inquiry on the Iraq War

. Publications of Colin Leakey


Leakey, C.L.A. Ed. (1970) Crop Improvement in East Africa   C.A.B    pp 280 including two  chapters written by CLAL  respectively on Phaseolus Beans and Robusta Coffee.
Leakey, C.L.A. (1970) Many sections (by-lined authorship) on diseases of most of the crops in Uganda in Jameson J.D. Ed. (posth.) and Stephens D (the actual editor)  Agriculture in Uganda -2nd Edition . OUP for the Government of Uganda Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.  395pp
Leakey, C.L.A. & Wills, J.B., eds (1977).  Food Crops of the Lowland Tropics.  xiv                                   345 pp.  Oxford University Press.  
Leakey C.L.A. (1988) Genotypic and phenotypic markers in common bean.  A chapter in Gepts P. (ed). Genetic resources of Phaseolus beans  pp 245-327. Kluwer Academic Publishers  613pp       

Major Reports (book length)

1977 Breadfruit Reconnaisance Study in the  Caribbean 65pp  (based on studies in Guyana, Trinidad, Tobago, St.Vincent, Monserrat, St Martin and  Jamaica)   - for The Inter-American Development Bank.

1979 Pulse crops in Chile – A survey of the present position of development and genetic resources of beans, lupins, lentils, chickpeas and peas.  78pp – for Engel and Co SA of Santiago de Chile

1980 (Part author with Eric Miller and John Watkins) Feasibility study on the establishment of a date palm plantation at Ba’shaetaan. Marmul. Oman

1981 A contribution towards planning for further economic benefits for Malaysian rubber smallholders. 82pp – for the Rubber Smallholders Development Authority of Malaysia (RISDA).

1986  A review and pre-feasibility Project Identification for cropping and allied processing developments in Uda Walawe Irrigation Project Area in Sri  Lanka 66pp ( for Sir Murdoch Macdonald and Partners)

1986 Resources and opportunities for research and development work dedicated to the co-existance of Man and Nature at the Ol Ari Nyiro Ranch, Laikipia.(2 volumes)

Scientific journal papers   

Leakey , C L A. (1960) Bi-nucleate and tri-nucleate conidia in Colletotrichum gossypii South. Nature 188 No 4751 685-686
Leakey , C.L.A. (1964) Dactuliophora, a new genus of mycelia sterilia. Trans. Brit Mycol. Soc.47(3)  307-466
Deighton F.C & Leakey,C.L.A. (1964) Cercospora. Commonwealth Phytopath. News. 10(4) 49-53
Leakey,C.L.A. (1965)  Clones, climates and collaboration  J. Applied Ecology 2 404-405
Leakey,C.L.A. (1965) Sudden death disease of cacao in Uganda associated with Verticillium dahliae Kleb -.1  E.Afr.agric.For.J.   31 21-24
Leakey C.L.A.(1965)  Recent fungicide trial in Uganda and their relevance to field practice, Uganda Dept. Agriculture Tech. Communication No 16 (mimeo)
Leakey, C.L.A. and Perry, D.A. (1966).  The relation between damage caused by insect pests and boll not associated with Glomerella cingulata (Stomeman) Spauld. & von Schrenk
     (Colleotrichum gossypii Southw.) in upland cotton in Uganda.  Ann. Appl. Biol. 57: 337–344.
Leakey, C.L.A. (1968) The orchids of Uganda. American Orchid Society Bulletin  October 883-886
Leakey, C.L.A. (1968) The orchids of Uganda 2. The Major Angraecoid genera American Orchid Society Bulletin  November 978-983
Leakey, C.L.A. (1968) The orchids of Uganda 3.Various species of horticultural merit American Orchid Society Bulletin  December 1052-1054
Leakey, C.L.A. (1969) The orchids of Uganda 4.  Eulophias in Uganda American Orchid Society Bulletin  January 49-52
Leakey, C.L.A. (1969) The orchids of Uganda 5. Polystachya and the last traces of Empire American Orchid Society Bulletin  February 116-119
Leakey, C.L.A. (1970a).  The role of fungi and cultural factors in the etiology of root rot of vanilla (Vanilla fragrans (Salisb.) Ames) in Uganda.  E. Afr. Agr. For. J. 36: 207–210.
Leakey, C.L.A. (1970b) Heterogeneous agricultural populations.  Agric Progress 45 34-42
Leakey, C.L.A (1970c)  The Improvement of beans in East Africa 99-128  Chapter 4 in Leakey, C.L.A. Ed.   see below
Leakey, C.A.L. (1970d). Background to current breeding work at Makerere University,    Uganda.
     (1970 e)   Anthracnose resistance breeding in Pinto beans in Uganda using the ARE gene from Cornell 49-242.  
     (1970f)  Scope for breeding for improved protein content and quality in Dry Beans in          Uganda.
     (1970g) Need one grow pure lines in developing Countries.
All above ( d-g) from Annual Report of the Bean Improvement Co-operative (BIC).
Leakey, C.L.A. & Rubaihayo, P.R. (1970).  Soya beans as a potentially valuable crop for agricultural diversification in central Uganda.  E. Afr. Agr. For. J. 36: 39–44
  Leakey, C.L.A (1971a) The balance between vegetative and reproductive growth in Vanilla vines                     (Vanilla fragrans (Salisb.) Ames and its control in nature and in cultivation  Acta Hort. 21 151-158
  Leakey , C.L.A.,  Emechebe A & Banage W (1971) Verticillium wilt of cacao in Uganda – 2 Symptoms and establishment of pathogenicity.  Ann. Appl. Biol. 69 223-7
  Leakey , C.L.A.,  Emechebe A & Banage W (1973) Verticillium wilt of cacao in Uganda – 3 Symptoms and establishment of pathogenicity. E. Afr. Afric. For. J.  39(4) 337-343
  Leakey, C.L.A. (1972).  Factors affecting increased production and marketing of food crops in Uganda.  E. Afr. J. Rural Develop.  4: 1–20
  Leakey, C.L.A. & Simbwa-Bunnya M (1972) Races of Colletotrichum lindemuthianum and implications for bean breeding in Uganda Ann. Appl. Biol. 70 25-34
  Leakey C.L.A., Atkins J. & Magara J. (1972) Bean Rust studies in Uganda. Annual Report of the Bean Improvement Co-operative (BIC). 15 60-63.
  Leakey C.L.A. (1972)  Crop Index in beans.  Annual Report of the Bean Improvement Co-operative (BIC). 15 64-65.
  Leakey,C.L.A. (1973) A note on Xanthomonas blight of beans ( Phaseolus vulgaris (L.) Savi and prospects for its control by breeding for tolerance. Euphytica  22 132-140
  Leakey C.L.A (1974) in Potentials of field beans and other legumes in Latin America CIAT, Cali Colombia, pp 157-160  Discussion  of potential and problems of production of dry legumes in the lowland tropics.pp 263-265 Plant introduction and germplasm of Phaseolus vulgaris and other legumes                                                                                                                                       Leakey C.L.A (1975) Making use of germplasm collections. Annual Report of the Bean Improvement Co-operative (BIC). 18 38-41.
Leakey,C.L.A. (1975) Destructive phytotechnology for economic benefit. Inaugural (Visiting Professorial) Lecture The University of Strathclyde. (published as a pamphlet)
  Leakey C.L.A (1977) Effective nodulation in determinate varieties of beans Annual Report of the Bean Improvement Co-operative (BIC). 20 10-14.
Leakey,C.L.A. (1982)  A paper delivered at the First South East Asian Conference on Computer Applications, SEARCC, Kuala Lumpur.  New approaches to agricultural information  in Lu C.F Ed. SEARCC82   51-57
  Leakey.C.L.A. (1986) Biomass, Man and Seasonality in the tropics in Seasonality and Poverty IDS Bulletin 17 (3) University of Sussex.                                                                                          Leakey C.L.A.(1996) An applied biologist in Belarus 1993-5 Association of Applied Biologists News 35 pg 4     
  Leakey, C.L.A. (2001)  Vanilla: The orchid for the gourmet Eden Projects 3 26-28
  Leakey,C.L.A. (2001) Warming spices for the winter season  Eden Projects 5 14-18
  Leakey,C.L.A. (2003) Plants, Man and Energy  Eden Projects 13 4-7
  Leakey C.L.A. (2008) SCAPA – A system for post-colonial agriculture. Resurrection  42 18-27   
  Leakey C.L.A. (2009) Darwinism: Some outstanding problems  Ethical Record
  Leakey,C.L.A. 2010  Review of Charter Lecture given by Professor  Colin Blakemore, Biologist 57(2) 99

Book Reviews

Leakey C.L.A. (1976)  Review of Tropical Pulses by J Smartt
  1997  THES  Dec 5th . Weed’em and reap   Review of  Journal of Vegetable Crop   Production.
   1998  THES  Jan 16 The radical assault on our health. Review of Free radicals and oxidative   stress Edited by C.Rice-Evans  and B. Halliwell  and three other titles on the same topic of oxidation in foods.
And several others.


Resume history, narrative account

Dr Colin Leakey was seconded from the Commonwealth Mycological Institute, Kew, to Uganda’s Kawanda Research Station as a member of the Colonial , (later Commnwealth) Pool of Plant Pathologists. He was pathology specialist in the group working on the improvement of Phaseolus beans by plant breeding. He continues work on beans to this day.  In addition to substantial work on beans and some on other economic legumes, his other special project under ‘The Pool’s agreement with Uganda was to work out the causation and possible control of a new (Red Blister) disease affecting Robusta coffee. He first (unpopularly) reported Coffee Berry Disease of Arabica coffee as present but overlooked and widespread in Western Uganda and did work on cocoa, cotton and vanilla diseases. He also began investigation of serious diseases of cocao and vanilla. He described a new genus of fungus, Dactuliophora,  causing a previously mysterious  condition on cowpeas  

During two university vacations, a final year Botany student from the Makerere University, Joseph Mukiibi, was trained in his laboratory and earned ( from recommendation) a Commonwealth Studentship  to St Andrews University to work out that disease and its curious pathogen more fully. Mukiibi earned a Ph.D from St Andrews for that work and returned to replace me in my Post (as intended!) and later to become Chief Officer of the National Research Organisation  and then Professor of Botany.

Transferring to Makerere University Colin carried a substantial teaching load in Plant pathology, crop protection and plant breeding and taking in the teaching of both statistics and agro climatology/crop ecology.

Research Students

Colin could substantially amplify his research endeavours, notably on the vascular wilt disease of cocoa with an able Nigerian research student, Alpho Emechebe.  Alpho produced and excellent Ph.D thesis and two papers on this disease. He went on to become the youngest full Professor at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria.
A Kenyan research student, Ivor Furtado, was able to mount a substantial applied ecological case to suggest that Coffee Berry Disease of arabica coffee had emerged and continued to plague crop in East Africa as a result of long term copper fungicide spraying having altered the competitive advantages of parasitic over saprophytic strains of Colletotrichum. The concept of CBD as a possibly man-made disease, and by the chemical companies and their agents was scarcely popular! His careful work remained largely unpublished, but see  Furtado, I. 1969. The effect of copper fungicides on the occurrence of the pathogenic for of Colletotrichum coffeanum. Trans. Brit. Mycol. Soc. 53:325-328. After the political troubles Ivor completed his Ph.D in Wales.
An external Ph.D student of Makerere University and already in a senior Government position, ‘Taff’ Davies was guided to a thesis on groundnut virus rosette disease and later became a senior agricultural entomological advisor at ODA.

MSc students successfully worked on beans (Atkins), soybeans (Rubaihayo), cowpeas (Mehta) and the leaf vegetable varieties of Amaranthus (Goode). Rubaihayo later completed a Ph.D in Illinois and later still became the most important banana researcher and then Minister of Agriculture.

Post African career

Political turmoil in Uganda in the early 1970s led to the end of British funding and compulsory withdrawal of supporting staff.  Colin was forced to leave in Spring1973 having already begun active collaborating role with the Cambridge University bean programme, Unwins of Histon and the Bean Improvement Cooperative (BIC) . He gave two papers at the Inaugural Bean Seminar at CIAT in Feb 26th-March 1st 1973.   With the late Alice Evans  (The Queen Bean!) he was responsible for  IBPGR’s  production of  the crop descriptors booklet for Phaseolus vulgaris which forms the basis of all registrations to this day.  He was a part-time retained consultant for H.J.Heinz, Claeys-Luck and CIAT relating to beans, To Wimpey Laboratories relating to plant physiology and irrigated cropping and more surprisingly to International Computers for a number of years. He travelled widely in many consultancy and educational roles before starting his own limited company (with a Glasgow friend in the food refrigeration engineering industry) Peas and Beans Ltd. in 1985.

He collaborated with Rothamsted’s research group on Rhizobium (John Day and Peter Dart) and had trials work in association with larger organisations such as J.K.King and Co of Coggeshall in Essex, Claeys Luck in France,  Nutting and Speed of Longstanton and Cresthale Seeds of Peterborough.  Maintaining a good working relationship with the Field Station of Cambridge University’s Department of Applied Biology it was possible to maintain an active and continuous bean plant breeding programme while providing research and technical service to the associates. PBI Cambridge and Wellsborne Vegetable Research Station he regarded as friendly competitors.

However by 1989 it was possible to rent land and set up a small private research station in Girton, Cambridge.  Here breeding work and a trials programme for varieties could be continued but also collaborative trials with Ceiba Geigy (on experimental seed treatments), with The Plant Breeding Institute, and with Microbio Ltd with Rhizobium trials. A small store was also rented whose contents, including much of a back-up of Cambridge University’s world bean collection, became totally lost through flooding of Beck Brook, Oakington on the famous storm night of 21/22 October in 2001.

In 1991 there developed interest in developing one or more of Peas and Beans Ltd’s new varieties in the USA.  Colcord Farms in Paris Kentucky organised trials to be undertaken at the research farm of the University of Kentucky, Lexington. The account of subsequent activity in the USA is complex due to the now notorious ‘Enola’ patent case, with which we not directly, but certainly indirectly involved through loss of opportunity. However one of Peas and Beans Ltd’s own yellow seeded but quite distinctive from ‘Enola’ is now grown and marketed in San Francisco.

After re-locating residentially to Lincoln in 2001 it has been difficult, but possible to maintain a limited level of activity but at the same time the programme has moved on from mainly breeding to mainly development with a limited role of varietal maintenance.  The business is that of Peas and Beans Ltd. I can explain as may be required but our annual reports to Companies House in Scotland give a very comprehensive history if one is needed.

The network of contacts behind the current state of development of  “The Bean Job” have included  ADAS-(Arthur Rickwood and Boxworth stations):The Campden Food Laboratories (protocol for cook/freeze beans for Bean Thinking/Phaseolus Ltd: Frontier Agriculture for farm contacts in ‘new crop’ development of beans in Suffolk:  PGRO Thornhaugh has had mutually supportive collaboration  with Colin over a very long period: Mr Timothy Monckton, Agronomy Consultant, “The States” Government of Jersey and various farmers in Jersey.
Currently there is acreage rising year-on-year of dry beans being produced in East Anglia and entering the Food Industry through Phaseolus Ltd. and their wholesale clients – reaching supermarket shelves but with lost identity. Our beans also produced and marketed in California from Canadian produced seed.


Orchids have been an abiding side interest

I quote from a review in preparation by an ex-Kew botanist, Dr Roger Polhill, who edited the new East African Flora.  “While in Trinidad as post graduate student and then in Uganda Colin took a keen interest in wild orchids and a number of specimens were collected from U2–4 in 1962–1964, preserved at EA, BR and K. However in the main he was more interested in their ecology and threats of needless destruction in forest clearings and on that account distributed living collections and freshly collected ripe capsules containing seeds to botanical gardens and some other collections: Notably to Cambridge, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Gothenburg and RBG Kew...”

A well-received lecture at the Eden Foundation challenged the conventional wisdom of the CITES convention in relation to saving epiphytes being otherwise lost through exploitive tropical forestry. Colin is member of the East Midlands Orchid Society.

Contributions to Politics and Government Inquiries
1985 Candidate for the Alliance of Social Democrats and Liberals in the European Election for the Constituency of Suffolk and SE Cambridgeshire. No longer a member of any political party.

In more recent years Colin has been active in attempting to correct false intelligence promulgated from 1995 by which Bacillus thuringiensis var‘Al Hakam’, a useful organic bio-insecticide being developed for self production and use in the Middle Eastern countries, with FAO’s initial sponsorship which was wrongly and wilfully said to be Bacillus anthracis in Iraq.

Colin has also been critical of the inadequacy of research on so-called prion diseases and the true origins of the UK BSE outbreak. Over both these questions I have made what some consider substantial contributions to official inquiries (but questions remain unresolved). For the Institute of Biology I have lectured on Stem Cells and as a result was invited to give a seminar at the Post Graduate Medical School, Hammersmith.

The Sir Joseph Banks’ Conservatory in Lincoln and the Breadfruit
Colin is a member of the Sir Joseph Banks Society, formed in Lincoln and Horncastle to honour the memory of this son of Lincolnshire. He has given talks about Banks and his plants in the Conservatory and elsewhere. In 2008 and 2009 he gave illustrated talks to parties of school pupils at The Lawn with accompanied walks in the Conservatory. He hopes to be able to initiate other schemes to celebrate the Breadfruit and its extraordinary history including introducing it to our own Lincoln Sir Joseph Banks Conservatory.

CLAL-August 2011


Picture of Colin