Tropical Legumes II
 

ENHANCING GRAIN LEGUMES PRODUCTIVITY AND PRODUCTION AND THE INCOMES OF POOR FARMERS IN DROUGHT-PRONE AREAS OF SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA AND SOUTH ASIA
( ICRISAT, in partnership with CIAT, IITA and NARS partners )

Tropical legumes are one of the major components of farming systems in smallholder agriculture of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia (SA). In spite of their importance, productivity of these crops has remained stagnant or even declined over the years, particularly in SSA, because of such constraints as drought, pest and disease problems, and unavailability and lack of access to quality seed of improved varieties.

Tropical Legumes-II is a joint initiative of three international agricultural research centres, viz. ICRISAT (chickpea, groundnut and pigeonpea), IITA (cowpea & soybean), and CIAT (common bean) that aims to increase productivity and production of legumes and the income of poor farmers in SSA and SA by 15 percent, with improved varieties occupying 30 percent of the total area planted by some 57 million poor farmers in the coming 10 years. It is expected that this will result in an additional value gain of more than US$ 300 million during that period.

The project’s strategy is to fast track testing and adoption of existing varieties and advanced breeding lines for use by famers; generate new farmer- and market-preferred varieties and hybrids with desirable traits (high yields, tolerance to moisture stress, and resistance to pests and diseases); and establish decentralized, pro-poor seed production and delivery systems.

All activities will be carried out in full partnership with NARS of nine countries, including Mali, Niger and Nigeria in western and central Africa; Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania in eastern and southern Africa; and India in South Asia.

The project puts very high emphasis on capacity building for the NARS in terms of both human resources and infrastructure. Each NARS in the pilot countries would be enabled to have a fully functional national programme for each crop, with a total of 47 researchers (12 PhD and 35 MSc) trained within the next 3 years.

The project management is with ICRISAT (on behalf CIAT and IITA), and the participating NARS partners, including private sector seed companies and NGOs.