Legume breeding and seed systems for improved livelihoods and impact


The Tropical Legumes III project aims to reduce food insecurity in the drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia (SA) through improved productivity and production of four major grain legumes – chickpea, common bean, cowpea, and groundnut. This is being done by conducting research under three complementary research and delivery pillars: support for the development and release of farmer-preferred varieties; strengthening the legume breeding capacity of partner CGIAR centers (ICRISAT, IITA, and CIAT), and national partners in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda; and establishment of sustainable seed delivery systems that service the needs of smallholder farmers. Significant achievements have been recorded. Breeding program assessments have been completed in all countries and improvement plans developed for execution. New seed varieties (163) have been released and are fast replacing the old ruling seed varieties in all target countries. Thirty-seven national partners have been trained at MSc and PhD level. As a result of the enhanced skills and knowledge of seed value chain actors, seed production significantly increased by 221% (from 139,048 to 446,359 tons) in seven years. Since 2007, improved varieties have been adopted on at least 2 million hectares, more than $448 million has been generated from project funding, and nearly $976 million has been generated from the project and investment partners. For each dollar invested, the project generated $9 with direct project investment or $20 with partnership investment, and again $20 when using an adoption rate-based estimate. These achievements and implementation challenges will be discussed.

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