Trends in support for research and development of cool season food legumes in the developing countries uri icon

abstract

  • In addition to their role in human nutrition, food legumes are an integral part of farming systems world wide in diversifying cropping systems and maintaining soil fertility. 1996 world production is around 57 million tonnes. The population in developing countries is expected to be 6.06 billion by 2010, and the demand for food legumes is expected to be around 110.65 million tonnes. This poses a challenge to scientists and policy makers to meet this demand. The growth trends during 1990-94 for area, production, and productivity globally were negative, with few exceptions. Many countries in Asia need to increase production by at least 50% by 2010, and double it by 2020, to meet the needs of the growing population. The current research and development (R&D) thrusts, in developing countries, are geared towards increased production, but with varied success. An increased reliance on plant breeding and extensive cultivation of legumes in marginal areas has led to over-exploitation of the limited genetic resources. Some national governments (eg Turkey and India) have programmes to increase production, but early successes have plateaued, and shifts in direction are needed. The major proportion (50-75%) of R&D funds in developing countries is allocated to staple cereals, and only a small portion of the remaining budget is available for legumes. The following strategies are suggested to strengthen support for food legume research: integrated cropping systems management (variety+agronomic practices+crop rotations) to bridge the yield gap in different agroclimatic conditions; strategic research to breach yield ceilings and develop cultivars that can produce high and stable yields in better-endowed environments and thus compete with cereals; strengthen research collaboration within and among national programmes and with the international agricultural research centres; increase the role of regional, networks and working groups to enhance technical cooperation among developing countries; increase the collaboration between public and private sectors and exploit their comparative advantages to achieve mutual goals; and create Food Legume Councils (that include farmers, traders, and exporters) which support R&D by levying taxes or cesses on commodities and value-added products

publication date

  • 2000
  • 2000