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The phases of the Tropical Legumes projects

Run over a 12-year period in three phases, the Tropical Legumes Projects were a US$67 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The projects were led by three international CGIAR research organizations – CIAT, ICRISAT, and IITA – and executed by national and regional partners in 15 countries. Visit our Country Map to find out more.

Country Map

What were the Tropical Legumes projects?

The Tropical Legumes projects were a series of initiatives that helped to develop new high-yielding and climate-resilient varieties of food legumes, and to produce and distribute the seed of those varieties to millions of poor farmers in participating countries across Africa and Asia.

Collaboration and partnerships

The projects worked alongside existing organizations, such as the Integrated Seed Sector Development programs, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, and the United States Agency for International Development, to strengthen breeding capacity, develop better seed varieties, and improve the seed delivery systems. The results of the Tropical Legumes projects are attributable to the collaboration between these organizations, along with national partners, and include the systems, infrastructure, and multi-stakeholder platforms that were set up.

Benefits of the projects

Farmers adopting the varieties have been able to strengthen their ability to adapt to climate change, achieve higher yields and incomes, and secure a reliable supply of protein- and nutrient-rich food for poor households. Particular attention was paid to the needs and interests of women farmers ­– who often take responsibility for producing food legumes but continue to face a ‘gender gap’ that limits their access to agricultural inputs and weakens their productivity.   

Future work

The gains of the Tropical Legumes initiatives are now being consolidated by a new project, Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa (AVISA), which is building on the experience of its predecessor to continue enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of breeding programs and seed systems. To aid the work of the AVISA project, we have consolidated over 200 resources related to the work of the projects in our Resource Center.


If you have any queries related to the Tropical Legumes Hub, please contact:

Dr Chris Ojiewo, Principal Scientist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, and Project Coordinator of the Tropical Legumes initiatives: c.ojiewo@cgiar.org

Dr Rajeev Varshney, Research Program Director for Genetic Gains at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, and Principal Investigator for the Tropical Legumes initiatives: r.k.varshney@cgiar.org

If you have any feedback on the Tropical Legumes Hub, please send us your comments via email.

Led by:

International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT)
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

Supported by:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation