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Mainstreaming Efficient Legume Seed Systems in Eastern Africa

Challenges, Opportunities and Contributions towards Improved Livelihoods

image of Mainstreaming Efficient Legume Seed Systems in Eastern Africa

Legumes are important components of sustainable farming systems. They are useful to diversify and intensify cropping systems; fix atmospheric nitrogen and improve soil health; act as rotation crops; increase and diversify smallholder incomes; and lower the carbon footprint, mitigating climate change. Legumes can therefore play a critical role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. However, as this publication points out, their production is challenged by various policy, regulatory, institutional and technical factors, including a lack of attention from the public sector and limited opportunity to attract private sector investment.

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Status and trends in area, production and productivity of selected legumes in Eastern Africa

Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L), pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan (L) Mill), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L) Walp), soybean (Glycin max (L) Merr), common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L), groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L), faba bean and lentil are the some of the most important grain legumes grown in Eastern Africa. More than 101 million households grow one or more of the six tropical grain legumes in Eastern Africa (Abate et al., 2012).

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