Tropical Grain Legumes in Africa and South Asia: Knowledge and Opportunities uri icon

abstract

  • There are about 30 species of economically important legumes grown in the tropics(Baldev et al. 1988; Raemaekers 2001; Gowda et al 2007). Among the majorones are chickpea (Cicer arietinum), common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), cowpea(Vigna unguiculata), groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan),and soybean (Glycine max). Others that are important in one or other regions ofthe tropics include faba bean (Vicia faba), lentil (Lens culinaris), field pea (Pisumsativum), Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea), hyacinth bean (Lablab purpurea ?also known as Dolichos lablab), Kerting?s groundnut (Macrotyloma geocarpum), limabean (Phaseolus lunatus), yam bean (Sphenostylis stenocarpa), mung bean or greengram (Vigna radiata), black gram or black bean (Vigna mungo), moth bean (Vignaaconitifolia), rice bean (Vigna umbellata), and horse gram (Macrotyloma uniflorum).More than 101 million households (HH) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and 39 millionHH in South Asia (SA) grow one or more of the major tropical legumes for foodsecurity, income generation, improved nutrition, and maintaining soil fertility. Anestimated 27 million ha in SSA and 40 million ha in SA are planted to these cropseach year; annual production is estimated at about 19 million metric tons (MT) inSSA and 30 million MT in SA, valued at about US$ 9.3 billion and US$ 15.1 billion,respectively. Despite their importance, investment in tropical legumes researchand development has been low. However, this situation has been changing for thebetter in recent years. The Tropical Legumes II project (TL II), funded by the Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmersin SSA and SA through improved productivity and production of the six majorgrain legumes mentioned above. Improved systems and partnership approachesbetween national programs and CG centers have shown positive changes in somecountries (Abate et al 2011) that could serve as examples of good practice

publication date

  • 2012
  • 2012