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Legumes: a climate-smart option to address Africa’s dependence on costly food imports

Africa’s exposure to climate change, Covid-19 and volatile global commodity markets is increasing the risk of hunger and unrest. Can investments in the domestic production of food legumes like chickpea and soybean help? The economics of hunger and agriculture in Africa According to the United Nations, the Covid-19 pandemic has the potential to double (to...

African project highlights importance of legume crops on World Pulses Day

COULD legumes be the key to food production sustainability and climate change resilience? They consume less than half the non-renewable energy of traditional cereals, they can survive harsh conditions like drought and they improve soil health by fixing nitrogen. On this, World Pulses Day, February 10, Dr Christopher Ochieng Ojiewo, principal scientist at ICRISAT (International Crops...

Higher quality seeds can help beat Africa’s ‘hunger pandemic’

Vaccination efforts across the globe encourage hope of an imminent end to the COVID-19 health crisis. But the food security crisis that the pandemic has deepened cannot be alleviated quickly and will require lasting solutions.  Well-adapted and nutrient dense crops like millet, sorghum, groundnut, chickpea, pigeonpea, cowpea and common bean, collectively called dryland cereals and legumes, are like a vaccine...

Cues to making crop improvement in Africa gender responsive

A cluster of activities are helping make The Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa (AVISA) Project’s crop improvement efforts gender-responsive. The activities include: Gender responsiveness in product profiling, Youth transitions in the drylands and Gender dynamics in seeds systems (G-SEED). Gender responsiveness in product profiling  According to Dr Tawanda...

Breaking barriers to uptake of improved sorghum in Burkina Faso, one social media post at a time

A small number of farmers pioneering seed production of a novel sorghum variety in Burkina Faso are also breaking new ground on social media. Turning the spotlight on Soubatimi, the new sorghum variety, they have shown a way around one of the biggest roadblocks to Africa’s uptake of game-changing improved crops– unawareness. “Right from our...

Towards sustainable seed systems in eastern and southern Africa

The AVISA project has rolled out its seed systems strategy in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda with an aim to increase ESA’s varietal turnover rate and boost adoption of improved varieties. Digital seed roadmaps, increasing private seed sector and community seed producer participation, innovating digital tools and building business cases for the crops are part of...

Giving Africa’s new crop varieties a data boost digitally

To increase adoption of new improved varieties in Africa, a webinar was recently organized under the aegis of the AVISA project to familiarize seed system stakeholders with SEEDx, a mobile application developed by ICRISAT that facilitates data-driven decision making. Dr Chris Ojiewo, AVISA project Co-Principal Investigator, outlined SEEDx and informed that it allows real-time capturing...

How beans can address food, nutrition and income challenges during COVID-19

By Robert Fungo The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant disruptions in food systems, especially on the poorest nations of Africa and Asia. PABRA explores how the bean crop can be exploited, to address these challenges of the affected communities during these pandemic times. The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.,) is the most important legume for consumption...

Fresh bean grain business in Tanzania; a new hope for youth and women

Beans are a staple food in most rural households in Tanzania. They are both a food and income-generating crop in most households. Kagera region is one of the leading producers of common beans in Tanzania. The most popular traditional dish in the area is beans mixed with banana locally known as ’matoke’ accompanied with some vegetables....

Improving the crop Nigeria calls ‘farmer’s meat’

Our Foundation recently brought together Nigerian farmers and other stakeholders for a cowpea Field Day. The two-day event enabled participants to see new varieties emerging from the AVISA* program. With a clear favorite apparent, the task is now to ensure seed company production and smallholder access.   “Cowpea is an important grain legume in Nigeria”,...

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