Enhancing grain legumes’ productivity, and production and the incomes of poor farmers in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

Published on 2 July 2010

Research Areas

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Start Date: 15 August 2007 | End Date: 31 December 2010


The project aims to increase the productivity (yield per unit area) and production (total availability) of five grain legumes – bean, chickpea, cowpea, groundnut and pigeonpea. These are important sources of protein for more than 2.1 billion people living in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The project proposes to develop, test and promote improved crop cultivars (and associated crop management practices) which can enhance legume productivity and production in the drought-prone areas of target regions and countries.

This will involve developing cultivars tolerant to drought and the major pests and diseases using modern plant-breeding techniques such as marker-aided selection (which will be developed under the Tropical Legumes I Project supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). A major thrust will be to develop and operationalize sustainable seed production and delivery systems in project countries, to enhance the access of farmers, especially those who are resource-poor, to improved cultivars.

Social science research will be used to analyze and provide advice concerning the social and cultural environments that influence the sustainable adoption and spread of promising varieties, technologies and innovations, and the scaling-up and scaling-out work done amongst farm communities. Social science inputs will also support research developments in breeding through a feedback process, policy dialogue, and by identifying lessons learnt for technology dissemination. Ensuring capacity building and infrastructure development among national program partners involved in breeding and seed delivery systems will be a major activity, in order to ensure the sustainability of legume breeding efforts in the project countries.

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