Newsroom  Press releases  2003

32) Improving legume crops with farmers' participation (2 February 2003)

The stakeholders for the project funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for improving legume cultivation in Asia are meeting at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). They will be finalizing an Action Plan and choosing the Steering Committee for the $ 1.3 million project.

Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, said that raising good legume crops with farmer and community involvement has the potential of taking agriculture into the less-endowed areas left out by the Green Revolution.

Crop diversification with legumes makes the farming systems more sustainable by improving soil health, he added. Further, when farm families supplement their food with pulses their nutrition improves.

The project, funded by IFAD, is being implemented by ICRISAT in India, China, Nepal and Vietnam, in collaboration with the national agricultural research systems.

According to Dr Douglas Wholey, IFAD Task Manager, the findings of a study by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) led to the initiation of this project. The study highlighted the need for participatory improvement of legume crops in the project countries.

"In this project we want to support research at the farm level rather than at the lab level," he added. "It is muddy boots rather than white coat and test tubes."

The project aims at improving the well being of the rural poor in these countries. This will be through sustainable productivity increases by introducing legumes into the cropping systems. The key component of the research and extension is to involve the farmers and local communities.

For more details contact Dr S. Nigam at s(dot)nigam(at)cgiar(dot)org.


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