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Nutrient-efficient, resilient and sustainable legumes for prosperity in the drylands

Ellis, N., Nagaraji, S., Beebe, S., Ghanem, M., Okori, P., Chaturvedi, S.K., Tamo, M., Agrawal, S.K., Gaur, P., Gopalakrishnan, S., Kumar, C.V.S., Varshney, R.ORCID: 0000-0002-4562-9131 and Njuguna, E.M. (2014) Nutrient-efficient, resilient and sustainable legumes for prosperity in the drylands. In: 6th International Food Legume Research Conference/7th International Conference on Legume Genetics and Genomics, 7 - 11 July 2014, TCU Place Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Abstract

The CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes is an ambitious international program to improve eight legume crops that are vital to the health, prosperity and resilience of millions of poor people across the developing world – especially children and women, who are the most vulnerable to malnutrition.
Grain legumes are protein rich and affordable foods. Protein sourced from grain legumes costs one-fifth as much as protein from milk. These are also vital sources of micronutrients such as iron.In addition to feeding their households, many poor grain legume farming families derive vital income by selling part of their crop. They are often primarily cultivated by women in Africa, providing a strategic window for focusing research benefits towards women – also benefiting the children who depend on them.

Smallholders generally cannot afford to buy enough chemical nitrogen fertilizer; as a result the yields of their crops are very low. A stellar advantage of grain legumes is their capacity to biologically convert nitrogen from the atmosphere into nitrogen in the soil – in other words, creating free fertilizer out of thin air.

A second major environmental benefit is that grain legume crops diversify typical farming systems. Greater diversity increases food and income security: if one crop fails due to drought or pests, another may rescue the total farm operation.

The research program is a partnership among four members of the CGIAR Consortium: ICRISAT as lead center, CIAT, ICARDA and IITA, along with several public and private institutes and organizations, governments, and farmers worldwide.

Item Type: Conference Item
Other Information: Poster presentation
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/62241
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