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12 years of research on tropical legumes: 25 million smallholder farmers now grow improved varieties
Wednesday, 2019/09/11 | 08:32:32

ICRISAT News Sept 2019

Figure: Cowpea field trials in Burkina Faso. Photo: N Mishra, ICRISAT


Over a period of 12 years  (2007-2019), the Tropical Legumes projects led to the development of 266 improved legume varieties and production of about 497,901 tons of certified seeds of the target legume crops. These seeds have been planted on about 5.0 million ha by over 25 million smallholder farmers in 15 countries and beyond, producing about 6.1 million tons of grain worth US$ 3.2 billion. The project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and implemented by ICRISAT, CIAT and IITA, also trained 52 next-gen scientists. The success stories and achievements of Tropical Legumes projects and the way forward for legumes research have been documented in a special issue of the journal Plant Breeding. Papers written by several ICRISAT scientists together with their collaborators are included in this special issue, which can be accessed here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/pbr.12632


In the early 2000s, legume production in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia (SA) suffered, mainly due to: Shortage of improved variety seeds, especially in small, affordable packs Lack of modern machinery on small farms Informal farmer groups for seed dissemination: no formal seed systems in place.


To resolve the issue, the Tropical Legumes (TL) projects were implemented to boost legume production and help smallholder farmers achieve better livelihoods. The projects ran in three phases: TL II Phase I (2007–2011), TL II Phase II (2012–2014) and Phase III or TL III (2015–2019). The project activities were implemented in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe in SSA, and India and Bangladesh in SA.


The projects involved a holistic framework that integrated genomics, breeding and value chain development.



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