Grain legume seed systems for smallholder farmers: Perspectives on successful innovations

Ojiewo, C O and Omoigui, L O and Pasupuleti, J and Lenné, J M (2020) Grain legume seed systems for smallholder farmers: Perspectives on successful innovations. Outlook on Agriculture (TSI), 49 (4). pp. 286-292. ISSN 0030-7270

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Grain legumes are nutritionally important components of smallholder farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Unfortunately, limited access to quality seed of improved varieties at affordable prices due to inadequate seed systems has reduced their contribution to improving nutrition and reducing poverty in these regions. This paper analyses four seed systems case studies: chickpea in Ethiopia and Myanmar; cowpea in Nigeria; and tropical grain legumes in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda highlighting outcomes, lessons learned, and the enabling factors which supported the successful innovations. All four case studies highlighted at least some of the following outcomes: increased adoption of improved varieties and area planted; increased productivity and income to farmers; improved market access and growth; and significant national economic benefits. Important lessons were learned including the value of small seed packets to reach many farmers; the value of innovative partnerships; capacity building of value chain actors; and continuity and coherence of funding through Tropical Legumes projects II and III and the recently funded Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa (AVISA) project. Successful adoption of innovations depends not just on the right technologies but also on the enabling environment. The case studies clearly showed that market demand was correctly identified, establishment of successful partners and institutional linkages overcame constraints in production and delivery of improved seed to smallholders, and fostered conducive policies supported national seed systems. All were integral to seed system viability and sustainability. It is hoped that these examples will provide potential models for future grain legume seed systems efforts. In addition, the analysis identified a number of areas that require further research.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : Asia
Research Program : East & Southern Africa
Research Program : Genetic Gains
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Grain legumes, Integrated seed systems, Market demand, Seed policy environment, Small seed packs, Multistakeholder platforms
Subjects: Others > Smallholder Agriculture
Others > Agricultural Marketing
Others > Cowpea
Mandate crops > Chickpea
Others > Food and Nutrition
Others > Legume Crops
Others > Sub-Saharan Africa
Others > Seed Systems
Depositing User: Mr Arun S
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2020 15:48
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2021 08:00
Official URL:
Funders: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Acknowledgement: The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the Tropical Legumes II and III projects that were the foundation on which the current project AVISA is built. These were supported by the CGIAR Research Programs Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals and one of its predecessors Grain Legumes. In Myanmar, the support of IFAD and ACIAR is also gratefully acknowledged. The authors also thank Dr Pooran M Gaur for his input on the case study on chickpea in Myanmar.
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