Objectives of TL-II

The overall objective of TL-II is to bring about significant increases in the productivity and production of tropical legumes to improve farmers’ income, nutrition quality, and livelihoods in SSA and SA. It is aimed to increase productivity of legumes 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 target in the short term (2008-10) is to achieve a 5 percent increase in legumes productivity, with improved varieties occupying 10 percent area, reaching 14 million poor farmers. This is expected to bring about an additional value gain of more than US$75 million.

This proposed project aims (i) to exploit the improved germplasm that already exists, by using ‘fast track’ evaluation and seed production; (ii) to encourage farmer-participatory varietal selection; (iii) to develop improved crop cultivars (including hybrids in the case of pigeonpea) by combining conventional plant breeding with modern breeding tools and techniques developed at the participating institutes and by the Tropical Legumes I Project supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and (iv) to strengthen national programs’ capacity for plant breeding. Priority-setting, baseline surveys, monitoring and evaluation, policy support, and assessment of adoption and impacts will be used to set the context for, and give support to, all the above activities.

The programme’s strategy to achieve its intended target is by developing, testing, and promotion of improved varieties, and by establishing effective seed production and delivery systems.

The programme has eight specific objectives.

Objective 1: Targeting crop breeding and seed delivery efforts to enhance the impact on the livelihoods of the poor in drought-prone regions of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

Objective 2: Enhancing groundnut productivity and production in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

Objective 3: Enhancing cowpea productivity and production in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa

Objective 4: Enhancing bean productivity and production in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa

Objective 5: Enhancing chickpea productivity and production in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

Objective 6: Enhancing pigeonpea productivity and production in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

Objective 7: Enhancing promiscuous, multipurpose soybean productivity and production in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa

Objective 8: Developing sustainable seed production and delivery systems for reaching the poor in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

The project’s targeting and impact strategy wi ll employ the commodity chain approach and will be strongly oriented towards the full range of clients. It will be supported by the feedback provided by participatory diagnosis of constraints. Lessons learned from elsewhere show that an end-user focus m ust be included in production-based activities if a sustainable impact of improved legume varieties is to achieved.

The project’s variety development strategy will take advantage of existing improved germplasm in the short term through participatory varietal selection (PVS). At the same time, new segregating populations will be developed and selected for tolerance to drought and resistance to accompanying biotic constraints. This will be complemented by a seed delivery strategy that will emphasize decentralized, pro-poor seed production and delivery systems. A diverse array of seed system components, as well as different combinations of components, will be tested through action research designed to identify the most appropriate seed delivery options for specific contexts. The promotion of value-added processing and storage facilities, as well as the stimulation of explicit market links, are part of this strategy.