Legumes are the third largest family of plants, and many species among them are very nutritious and/or improve the quality of soil. However they haven’t so far received a great deal of attention to increase yields and help smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
ICRISTAT, the International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics are conducting a research and development project to improve the productivity of legumes. This will be funded for three years by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and will act in partnership with the Program for African Seed Systems to ensure the availability of the seeds to African farmers.
Legumes are rich in protein and minerals and sometimes referred to as "poor man’s meat". They hold great promise for fighting hunger, increasing income and improving soil fertility.
The research is being carried out in 14 different countries in Africa, as well as in Asia.