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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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Introduction

Malnutrition resulting from the intake of imbalanced diets deficient in proteins and micronutrients (vitamin A, iron, zinc and iodine) remains the most devastating problem facing the majority of the poor and needy people in Eastern Africa (FAO, 2015; Ojiewo et al., 2015a). The tragic consequences of malnutrition include mortality and morbidity, poor mental and physical development, poor performance in school and as a result, retarded national socioeconomic development (COHA Report, 2013). A malnourished society lacks the physical and mental capacity to produce sufficient food to feed itself and depends on external sources for livelihoods (Ojiewo et al., 2015a).

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