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There are several hurdles to ensure sustainable seed production and consistent flow of improved legume varieties in sub‐Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia (SA). The unreliable demand, autogamous nature of most of the grain legumes, and slow variety replacement rate by smallholder farmers do not provide strong incentive for private seed companies to invest in legume seed business. Unless a well thought‐out and comprehensive approach to legume seed delivery is developed, current seed shortages will continue, eroding emerging market opportunities. The experiences reported here are collated through a 10‐year partnership project, the Tropical Legumes in SSA and SA. It fostered innovative public–private partnerships in joint testing of innovative market‐led seed systems, skills and knowledge enhancement, de‐risking private sector initiatives that introduced in new approaches and previously overlooked entities in technology delivery. As new public and private seed companies, individual seed entrepreneurs and farmer organizations emerged, the existing ones enhanced their capacities. This resulted in significant rise in production, availability and accessibility of various seed grades of newly improved and farmer demanded legume varieties in the target countries.
Plant Breeding. 2019;00:1–13.  
© 2019 Blackwell Verlag GmbH
Market‐led options to scale up legume seeds in developing
countries: Experiences from the Tropical Legumes Project
Jean‐Claude Rubyogo1| Essegbemon Akpo2| Lucky Omoigui3| Gaur Pooran4|
Sushil Kumar Chaturvedi5| Asnake Fikre6| Desmae Haile7| Ajeigbe Hakeem8|
Emmanuel Monyo2| Stanley Nkalubo9| Berhanu Fenta10| Papias Binagwa11|
Michael Kilango12| Magdalena Williams13| Omari Mponda14| David Okello15|
Mekasha Chichaybelu16| Amos Miningou17| Joseph Bationo17| Dramane Sako18|
Zoumana Kouyate19| Sory Diallo19| Richard Oteng‐Frimpong20| Julius Yirzagla20|
Teryima Iorlamen21| Umar Garba22| Haruna Mohammed20| Chris Ojiewo2|
Alpha Kamara3| Rajeev Varshney4| Shyam Narayan Nigam4| Pasupuleti Janila4|
Hajisaheb Lalasab Nadaf23| Sylvia Kalemera1
1International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Arusha, Tanzania
2International Crop Research Institute for Semi‐Arid Tropic s (ICRISAT), Nairobi, Kenya
3International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Kano Station , Nigeria
4International Crop Research Institute for Semi‐Arid Tropic s (ICRISAT), Hyderabad, India
5Indian Council of A gricultural Research (IC AR), India Institute of Pulses Research (IIPR), Hyderabad, India
6ICRISAT, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
7ICRISAT, Bamako, Mali
8ICRISAT, Kano Station, Nigeria
9National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), National Crop Resources Research Institute (NaCCRI), Namulonge, Uganda
10Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), Melkassa, Ethiopia
11Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) Selian, Arusha, Tanzania
12TARI, Uyole, Mbeya, Tanzania
13TARI, Maruku, Bukoba, Tanzania
14TARI, Naliendele, Mtwara, Tanzania
15National Semi‐Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI), Soroti, Uganda
16EIAR, Debre Zeit, Ethiopia
17The Institut de l'Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles (INERA), Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
18The Institut d' Economie Rur al (IER), K ayes, Mali
19IER, Cinzana, Mali
20Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), Tamale, Ghana
21University of Agricultural Makurdi, Makurdi, Nigeria
22Kano Agricultural and Rural Devel opment Authority (KNARDA), Kano, Nigeria
23University of Agricultural Science, Dharwad, India
Received:6Septemb er2018 
  Revised:4D ecember2018 
  Accepted :7December2018
DOI : 10.1111 /pbr.12732
   RUBYOGO et al.
Various technical and institutional challenges have affected recent
research and development efforts to boost tropical legumes pro‐
duction and productivit y in sub‐Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia
(SA). In SSA , the majority of legume farmers are women that rely
on non‐mechanized family labour for farm operations on their small
landholdings (Monyo & Varshney, 2016; Nhamo, Mupangwa, Siziba,
Gatsi, & Chakazunga, 2003). They use rudimentary technologies in
cluding unimproved or old improved varieties that are often suscep‐
tible to multiple production and postharvest constraints (Walker &
Alwang, 2015). The shortage of quality seed of improved varieties is
a major contributing cause of persistent low yields observed among
smallholder farmers in SSA (Monyo & Laxmipathi, 2014; Monyo &
Varshney, 2016) and in SA including India where 18.67 million tons
(t) of grain legumes (pulses) were produced on about 25.24 million
hectares (ha) during the period 2012–2017. To cover 30% of the total
pulse area in India alone using quality seed, 30–350,000 t of quality
seed must be produced annually.
Hybrid seed of maize and vegetables have fairly well‐structured
production and marketing systems with private sector participa
tion in SSA and SA. The successful maize seed system, has effec‐
tively given smallholder farmers in Africa access to new genetics
(Byerlee & Eicher, 1997; Smale & Jayne, 2003). Meanwhile, formal
seed systems of legume crops remain inadequately developed de
spite efforts to emulate success in cereal seed systems. Traditionally,
dissemination of legume seed and varieties has been done through
the informal seed system particularly farmer groups with limited
geographical coverage (Rubyogo, Sperling, Buruchara, & Muthoni,
2010). Consequently, the informal seed systems approach extended
the period between release and the wider use of these varieties
by smallholder farmers. Furthermore, the informal sector focuses
on genetic diversity, which makes the legume seed demand highly
fragmented due to agroecological and farmers'/consumers' demand
(Rubyogo, Magreta, et al., 2016a). On the one hand, in instances
where seed is relatively available, the supply composition is still pre‐
dominantly old varieties (Blaustein, 20 08; Mhango, Snapp, & Phiri,
2013). On the other hand, due to the large institutional market in
SSA, legume seed is often provided in large packs (50–100 kg) that
are unaffordable for smallholder farmers—a practice that further
strengthens the perception that farmers do not purchase legume
seed even when it is made available.
The objective of this article is to provide lessons on scaling le‐
gume seed systems through (a) adopting market‐oriented legume
seed systems; (b) increasing genetic diversity of legumes to respond
to the various needs of smallholder legume farmers; (c) strengthen
ing diversified production of early generation seed; (d) profession‐
alizing decentralized production of certified seed; and (e) catalyzing
private companies investment by establishing/strengthening part
nerships for increased seed production and marketing.
The experience reported in this paper emerged from seed sys‐
tems action research for development initiatives. The research ef
forts were carried out in the framework of the Tropical Legumes (TL)
projects supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
Jean‐Claude Rubyogo, International Centre
for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Arusha,
Editor: Anne Downes
There are several hurdles to ensure sustainable seed production and consistent flow
of improved legume varieties in sub‐Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia (SA). The
unreliable demand, autogamous nature of most of the grain legumes, and slow variety
replacement rate by smallholder farmers do not provide strong incentive for private
seed companies to invest in legume seed business. Unless a well thought‐out and
comprehensive approach to legume seed delivery is developed, current seed short‐
ages will continue, eroding emerging market opportunities. The experiences reported
here are collated through a 10‐year partnership project, the Tropical Legumes in SSA
and SA. It fostered innovative public–private partnerships in joint testing of innova‐
tive market‐led seed systems, skills and knowledge enhancement, de‐risking private
sector initiatives that introduced in new approaches and previously overlooked enti‐
ties in technology delivery. As new public and private seed companies, individual seed
entrepreneurs and farmer organizations emerged, the existing ones enhanced their
capacities. This resulted in significant rise in production, availability and accessibility
of various seed grades of newly improved and farmer demanded legume varieties in
the target countries.
decentralized seed production and supply, improved legume variet y innovative legume seed
systems, multi‐stakeholder platform, sub‐Saharan Africa and South Asia, variety promotion
RUBYOGO et al .
and implemented over 10 years (between 2007 and 2017); covering
11 countries (India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya,
Mozambique, Nigeria, Niger, Malawi and Mali) and six legume crops:
chickpea (Cicer arietinum), groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), cowpea
(Vigna unguiculata), soybean (Glycine max), pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan)
and common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). However, since 2015, the
projects focused on four legumes (common beans, chickpea, cow‐
pea and groundnut) in eight countries. In the paper, we focus on five
countries (Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania and India) and four crops
(common bean, cowpea, chickpea and groundnut) using data from
the period 2007–2017 to show how to bring wider systemic change
in legume seed production and supply in the context for smallholder
farmers in SSA and SA .
Improving farm‐level production and productivity requires improved
access and use of quality seed of improved varieties by smallholder
farmers who are mostly legume farmers (Akpo et al., 2014). In the
past decades, many varieties have been developed in SSA and SA in‐
cluding 195 high‐yielding varieties of grain legumes (pulses) released
during the last 10 years by Indian NARS. However, very few have
made their way to the farmers' fields. Usually, the access to these
varieties has been limited by reliance on formal or informal seed sys‐
tems and an integrated and pluralistic approach to cater for various
farmers' needs and conditions (Rubyogo et al., 2010). A sustainable
seed system should embody key social institutional dynamics that
enable effective delivery to the end users (Akpo et al., 2014). The
research design for this paper draws on collaborative and market‐led
approaches that embrace legume variety dissemination and use by
smallholder farmers in SSA and SA. It has been proven that the part‐
nership between farmers, national agricultural research programs,
the private seed producers and grain traders enhanced the sustain‐
ability and the adoption of new improved chickpea and beans va‐
rieties in Ethiopia (Ojiewo et al., 2015; Tebeka, Katungi, Rubyogo,
Sserunkuuma, & Kidane, 2017). Collaborative research has been
framed as an approach that engages most stakeholders in the re
search processes from problem definition to intervention design and
implementation, to joint assessment and decision to implement at
scale (Buruchara et al., 2011). It convenes international and national
research institutes, universities, development and humanitarian or
ganizations, policy makers and community actors to solve complex
problems faced by the community. Collaborative research calls for
partnership building between relevant stakeholders to solve the leg
ume value chain problems. Forming a multi‐stakeholders' platform is
one way to get such a partnership shaped and operational.
For collaborative research to effectively address legume seed
value chain issues in a sustainable way, a market‐oriented lens is es‐
sential. A market‐led approach to legume dissemination starts from
identifying farmers' variety preferences among several released va
rieties. The identified ones will be the focus of seed multiplication
and supply. The market‐led approach to legume seed dissemination
relied on the “8Ps of marketing”, that is, product design, process,
people, pricing, place, physical evidence, promotion and positioning.
For seed technology to work at wider scale, there is need to em‐
brace mechanisms that expose the largest possible numbers of tar‐
get groups. In the experience reported in this paper, the intervention
approaches embraced mechanisms that allowed the quality seed
of improved varieties to reach the various target groups at scale by
working with multiple seed value chain actors using proven plural‐
istic bean seed systems practices (Buruchara et al., 2011; Rubyogo,
Myers, et al., 2016b; Rubyogo et al., 2010). The end‐users were able
to assess the legume varieties and make their own decisions about
which one (s) to adopt.
As part of the process, the practices that promote improved
legume variety production and use were prioritized. Generally,
the formal seed systems alone did not facilitate access by
smallholder farmers to diverse legume varieties; farmers usu
ally sourced about 90% of their seed from the informal sector
(McGuire & Sperling, 2016). The 10% of seed which they sourced
from the formal sector was predominantly old (“ruling”) varieties
which might already have been in the hands of farmers through
the local seed exchanges (Rubyogo, Sperling, & Asefa, 2007).
Therefore, the seed system efforts were not translated into vari
ety replacement. To overcome the situation, the Quality Declared
Seed (QDS) approach was scaled up in most countries but at the
same time catalyzing private companies' investments to facilitate
complementarities between the two seed systems approaches.
In this paper, QDS systems facilitated the production and sup
ply of quality seed produced from either basic seed or certified
seed at the community level with limited certification activities
(one to two visits of seed certification officer), marketed at the
communit y level to reach a larger number of smallholder farmers
than the traditional certified seed channel (FAO, 2006). This is a
seed production model already legalized in many SSA countries
including Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda. The Truthfully Labeled
Seed (TLS) model of quality seed production used in India is like
QDS, and much of the production of certified seed is done by
seed companies. For instance, in India, to produce quality seeds
of pulses, several seed villages were established involving groups
of farmers organized in farmer seed producers' societies in dif fer
ent agroecological regions. Furthermore, considering the impor
tance of quality seed, the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation
and Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW), the Ministry of Agriculture and
Farmers Welfare, the Government of India approved an ICAR
project “Creation of seed hubs for increasing indigenous produc
tion of pulses in India” to establish 150 seed hubs in 24 states
(with a total outlay of approx. US$ 3,360 million).This project was
implemented through Indian Council of Agricultural Research‐
Indian Institute of Pulses Research (ICAR‐IIPR), Kanpur, India.
Nine Indian Agricultural Research Institutes (ICAR Institutes), 44
All India Coordinated Research Project Centres (AICRP Centers)
located in different State/Central Agricultural Universities; and
97 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs i.e. Agriculture Science Centres)
   RUBYOGO et al.
are partners in this project. The ICAR‐Agricultural Technology
Application Research Institutes (ICAR‐ATARIs) were collaborators
for implementation of the Seed Hubs project. The project had a
provision of a one‐time grant of US$ 75,000 in the first year per
seed hub to support seed infrastructure (i.e. a seed processing
plant and storage facility). In addition, there was provision of US$
150,000 for each seed hub as a revolving fund to meet various
expenses for production, procurement and processing of seeds
during the period of 2016–2018. The profit generated from the
seed sales was used by the seed hubs to develop other facilities to
increase quality seed production of targeted pulses.
Within three years, all 150 seed hubs will become self‐reliant and
each centre will continue to produce 100 t of quality (certified) seed
of different pulses in a sustainable manner. Total 150 seed hubs will
be producing a total 15,000 t of quality seed of newly released high‐
yielding varieties (i.e. not older than 10 years) of different pulses
on a sustainable basis which is likely to ensure productivity and
production increase of various pulses in India (Chaturvedi, Katiyar,
Lamicheney, & Singh, 2016).
For both QDS and TLS, community‐selected farmers were regis‐
tered as seed producers. QDS and TLS models helped to reach farm‐
ers in remote areas with high‐quality seed that would otherwise be
difficult due to the bulky nature of legume seeds and associated cost
of transportation and storage. In this paper, we use the phrase early
generation seeds to refer to prebasic and basic seeds.
Overall the approach was hinged on several overarching com‐
ponents including partnership building, skills and knowledge en
hancement through trainings, exposure to innovative seed systems
approaches as well as intensifying effor ts to reach the last‐mile
smallholder farmers with improved technologies.
2.1 | Partnership building
Across countries and legume crops, we adopted an inclusive plu
ralistic and integrated seed systems approach that recognizes
the complementary roles of seed producers such as individuals,
seed companies, Government Organizations (GOs) and Farmer
Organizations (FOs) While initially, variety development and pro
duction of early generation seed were vested exclusively in the
National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), inherent inef
ficiencies inadvertently caused delays in the scale and scope of
adoption of new varieties. Under the project approach, due rec
ognition was given to private seed producers to complement the
NARS. To initiate a demand‐led legume system, multi‐stakeholders
platforms were established and their roles were to (a) determine
variety demand and its/their quantities (b), develop a seed road
map to respond to commodity demand, (c) share roles and respon
sibility along the legume seed value chains, (d) identif y and source
complementary support services (e), catalyze additional seed sys
tems investments from private and public sector (f) and review
annual progress and make necessary adjustments. The seed pro
ducers were supported by a range of public–private partners, such
as Non‐Government Organizations (NGOs), FOs and public exten
sion teams, providing context‐based complementary services such
as transfer of knowledge and skills, capacity development for seed
quality control and linkages to mechanization and financial ser
vices (see Figure 1).
Partners developed joint work plans for project research and im
plementation, and agreed on roles and responsibilities through for
mal memoranda of understanding (Rubyogo et al., 2010). The seed
dissemination approaches used were: farmers' variety preference
identification, wider variety testing, organization of seed producer‐
led demonstrations and organizing field days, stakeholders' capacity
building in technical and business skills, information provision on new
varieties, linkage strengthening among different actors and use of
mass communication (i.e. radio, T V and printed media) and its impacts
on farmers' practices and knowledge about promoted seed tech
nologies. Although these multi‐stakeholder platforms were initially
facilitated by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural
Research (CGIAR) centers and NARS researchers, as the project pro
gressed there was increased ownership by the national actors. The
private sector actors and farmers' organizations showed interest in
the approach and are now increasingly taking full responsibility. For
instance, the Association of Pulse exporters in Ethiopia agreed to
FIGURE 1 Integrated seed systems
and use of multi‐stakeholders' platforms
for enhancing seed production and
inclusive access
Multi-stakeholders platforms for:
Annual planning and reviews (MLE)
Identification of variety demand
Linking value chain actors
Forums for training and skills
Enhancing efficiency and effectiveness
in technologies’ promotion
Basic seed (NARS & public and private seed enterprises)
Certified seed (lar
and small packs) by
seed companies
Certified/Quality Declared
Seed by farmer
organizations & Individual
seed entrepreneurs
Breeder seed (NARS & public and private seed enterprises )
Mechanization tools/labor saving technologies
reduce drudgery, increase production/quality of post-harvest products
Farmers Traders
RUBYOGO et al .
provide financial support to the pulse st akeholders' annual review and
planning meeting.
Seed systems activities under the project were thus implemented
as part of country‐led and nationally owned legume research for de
velopment plans, strategies and priorities. Several actors incorpo‐
rated the legume seed activities in their yearly programming. The
engagement of commodity traders/off‐takers (e.g. Raphael Group in
Tanzania and ACOS in Ethiopia), private seed companies, individual
seed entrepreneurs, NGOs, grain traders, community‐based orga
nizations (CBOs) and FOs greatly enhanced the prospects for de‐
mand‐led seed systems which is key to the sustainability of intended
outcomes. The NARS supported and empowered the partners in
two main ways. First, the framework ensured accountability to one
another, and the NARS ensured the availability and accessibility of
early generation seed to feed into certified seed and QDS produc‐
tion plans of private producers and later, grain production. Second,
technical suppor t to private seed companies was provided through
training in seed business management, access to parental seed, de‐
risking of private sector investments by supporting demand creation
activities for new varieties (i.e. demonstration/field days at a wider
scale), advisory services on the appropriateness and suitability of
the varieties, testing innovative seed production and marketing such
as variety non‐exclusive licensing, and marketing of farmer friendly
seed packs.
2.2 | Roles and responsibilities
The multi‐stakeholders' platforms, the different stakeholders in
volved in the process are mutually accountable for the strengthen‐
ing of the seed systems in the respective geographies. The first stage
was to agree on roles based on the competencies and complemen
tarities (Table 1). Whether technical (NARS), policy‐related (Ministry
of Agriculture), business development (seed companies and enter
prises), farm operations (farmers), the different stakeholders con
tributed to get the collective action.
2.3 | Capacities enhancement
To expand and sustain the seed systems initiatives under TL pro
ject, partners along the seed and grain value chains of various
legumes were engaged in skills and knowledge enhancement of
strategic partners. A two‐tier training model was adopted. The
first tier involved centralized training of trainers, conducted for
members of the respective multi‐stakeholder platforms. During
this training, the CGIAR and NARS crop scientists, seed systems
and agrobusiness specialists enhanced the capacities of identified
trainers from NARS, representatives of seed producers and re
lated service providers. The training of trainers focused on various
seed value chain components and soft skills including partnership
development and strengthening, variety identification and seed
quality maintenance, variety demand identification and creation,
scaling up through market options and research and develop
ment linkages. The second tier comprised decentralized training
sessions conducted at the local levels mainly for individual leg
umes seed and grain producers and marketers.
2.4 | Exposure to innovative
technologies and approaches
One of the key pillars of the pluralistic legume seed systems was to de
velop and create demand for new technologies and approaches among
the target communities. Several innovative strategies were tested or
adapted to enhance exposure. For instance, on‐farm demonstrations,
cluster demonstrations and farmers participatory variety selection
(FPVS) trials, seed fairs and field days were hosted by seed value chain
actors particularly village seed traders (commonly known as agro‐dealers
in East Africa) supported by major seed suppliers rather than the NARS
(role traditionally carried out by NARS), use of information communica
tion technologies (ICT) tools (WhatsApp groups) and marketing of small
packs by the private and public seed companies. In India, a mobile‐based
App “Chana Mitra” (i.e. Chickpea Friend) was developed to share pack
age of practices for raising good chickpea crop. Pamphlets and exten
sion bulletins containing technology packages were also published and
distributed among farmers for growing seed crop. All these innovative
demand creation tools exposed farmers to new varieties and comple
mentary technologies, while gaining affordable access to these technolo
gies with in their proximit y and with diverse a nd wider pool to sele ct from.
2.5 | Geographic and socio‐economic coverage
The aim of technology development and transfer is to ensure that
the technologies reach the last‐mile end users. A critical step was
to map out the areas targeted for wider impact, while taking care of
socio‐economic categories of target communities within the mapped
regions. The partnerships approach proved a key pillar enhancing ef
ficiency and effectiveness in technology transfer. Engaging pluralistic
seed actors, par ticularly in seed production and marketing was a way
to reduce the gap between formal and informal sources, increase di
versity of varieties and seed sources and enhance seed access espe
cially by smallholder farmers.
2.6 | Methods of data collection, synthesis,
analysis and reviews
Data were gathered on: the categories of seed actors involved, produc
tion of different seed classes, demand creation activities, that is, dem
onstrations plots, field days, radio and TV events, newspapers, flyers,
fairs and agricultural shows per countr y. To show the diversity of stake
holders involved in the research process from various level, we com
piled and added information gathered on dif ferent categories of actors
during project implementation. Yearly seed production data over pro
ject duration were computed for each countr y and crop. We calculated
the percentage of seed production per project period to show progress
made to increase production over time. Improved legume seed produc
tion data were plotted to show the trend of seed production increase
over years.
   RUBYOGO et al.
3.1 | Engagement of partners in seed production
and marketing
Deliberate effor ts were channelled in engaging partners from di
verse disciplines at all stages of project planning and in building
capacities of the partners, while keeping in mind their varied in
terests. Overall, between 2007 and 2017, hundreds of par tners
including public seed enterprises, seed companies, individual
seed entrepreneurs, FOs, were involved in seed production and
marketing across target countries and supported by NGOs and
CBOs (see Table 2). In most countries, the number of private
seed companies that invested in legume seed production and dis
semination significantly increased from less than 10 to close to
37 in four countries, while the number of small‐scale seed entre
preneurs increased from a dozen to hundreds in many countries.
More importantly, community seed producers and FOs increased
dramatically, from 10 to 470 in Tanzania. The various categories
of actors currently involved in seed production and dissemination
to smallholder farmers have boosted the seed business both at
the community and country levels. The public sector which used
to be more dominant in legume seed supply in most countries is
now being over taken by the private sector especially for highly
marketable or popular varieties. For instance, in Tanzania where
beans are increasingly becoming a food‐cash crop, NARS and CIAT
TABLE 1 Roles and responsibilities of different partner organizations in collaborative legume seed systems approach adopted under the
TL project
Partners Roles and responsibilities
National Agricultural
Research Systems (NARS)
Development of marketable and preferred legume varieties based on national regional demands
Production and supply of early generation seeds
Provision of information on new varieties
• Support other partners' skills and knowledge enhancement
Catalyze the development of legume sub sector at national and regional levels
Ministries of Agriculture
(policy making organ)
Serve as champion of legume value chain development to other government policy maker s
Policy support towards legume research and development
Engage and support private sector investors in the legume value chains
Public Seed Enterprises Production and marketing/supply of basic and certified seeds
• Business opportunities and capacity building for contracted seed growers
Decentralized seed
Test new varieties with support from extension ser vice providers
Production and marketing of seeds in local market s and to local organizations
• Local community contacts and wider dissemination of information and seeds
Local seed traders Supply of quality seeds of locally acceptable legumes varieties
Wider marketing of improved varieties at low cost through regional and local channels
Local Grain Traders Purchase of legume grains (for domestic and expor t markets) to drive seed production and market
Establishment of basic market infrastructure (storage facilities)
Establishment of grain quality st andards
District authorities and
Extension Agents
Suppor t decentralized testing of varieties and provide feedback to researchers
Suppor t decentralized seed production and diffusion
Capacity building in bean seed and grain production, qualit y control
• Enhancement of skills in agribusiness management
Mobilize farmers to produce legumes and link them to local and export markets
Facilitate linkages with service providers in the value chain for example, transporters, cooperatives and
Facilitate acquisition of basic seeds and other technologies
Farmers' groups and
Cooperative Unions
• Mobilization of farmers (members)
Provision of agri‐inputs (fertilizers, seed) to famers on loan or cash
Purchase of legume grains from the members and other farmers
Establishment of market infrastructure storage, cleaning equipment
Legume exporters • Testing marketability/suitability of existing and new varieties
Establishment of quality standards and market infrastructure
Purchase and export of quality legumes grain (market guarantee)
Training of collectors/traders on grain quality control systems
• Members of legume multi‐stakeholders platform
International Research
Institutes (CIAT, ICRISAT/
• Provision of legume germplasm
Training in seed produc tion and business skills
Suppor t in the design of innovative legume seed systems approaches for wider impact
• Support the development of efficient and productive seed multiplication techniques
Note: Adapted from Rubyogo et al. (2010).
RUBYOGO et al .
initiated bean multi‐stakeholders' plat forms coupled with the in
creased production and marketing of farmer and market preferred
varieties. As a result, the number of seed companies engaged in
bean seed rose from zero in 2010 to seven companies and one
public seed enterprise (Agricultural Seed Agency) producing and
marketing about 1,0 00 t of certified bean seed in 2017. These
companies and ASA are in the process of initiating the production
of certified groundnut seed. In Ethiopia and Uganda, the supply
of quality bean seed (certified and QDS) rose from less than 5%
of the national bean seed requirement in 2008 to 15% and 10%
in 2016 respectively. In Nigeria, cowpea varieties IT99K‐573‐1‐1
(SAMPEA 14) and IT99K‐573‐2‐1 (SAMPEA 15) which were on the
shelf, were produced and promoted widely among farmers and
replaced the older ones such as IT90K‐208‐5 (SAMPEA 9) and
IT97K‐499‐35 (SAMPEA 10). The TL legume project has also pro
vided opportunities for other donors to co‐invest in legume seed
systems. For instance, USAID—Feed the Future invested in both
groundnut and cowpea scaling up projects in Ghana, Mali and
Nigeria. In Tanzania, through the Scaling Seed and Technologies
Partnership (SSTP) project, USAID‐AGRA supported the com
mercialization of certified bean seed by companies and ASA and
facilitated the creation of multi‐stakeholders' platform in northern
Tanzania (Rubyogo, 2017).
3.2 | Sustainable production and delivery of
certified and quality declared legume seed
Three seed classes (basic seed, certified and quality declared/
truthfully labelled seed) were produced across legumes and dis
seminated either for further seed production or to farmers for
grain production. The integrated system adopted allowed various
actors to engage in the production of different seed classes. In
most target countries, the NARS produced and provided breeder
and prebasic seed to the private sector for production of basic
and certified seeds under close super vision by the national seed
regulator y agencies. The private sector then distributed the basic/
certified seed to local seed producers (i.e. individual or groups—
supported by development partners such as UN agencies, GOs,
NGOs, CBOs etc.) for production of quality declared seed or truth
fully labelled seed with limited supervision. The distribution of
seed production by classes, across countries and legume crops is
as shown in Table 3.
TABLE 2 Diverse categories and number of partners engaged in TL project, per country during 2007–2017
Type and number of partners
Tot al
Public seed
enterprises Seed companies
Individual seed
entrepreneur Farmer organization NGOs CBOs
Ethiopia 20 455 54 31 139
Tanzania 6 9 68 456 217 541
Mali 2 8 51 40 101
Nigeria 10 16 598 81 1 706
India 2 – 18 6 1 – 27
Class and quantity (tons) of seed produced
2007–2010 2011–2014 2015–2017
Nigeria, cowpea 108.6 1,591.6 165.2 9 0 9.9 177.6 1,59 7.0
Mali, cowpea 22.9 122.0 14.6 278.9 33.7 694.0
Mali, groundnut 48.8 176. 0 122.7 1,236 70.97 1,456.8
Nigeria, groundnut 14. 8 149.8 36.7 2, 119. 3 22.7 1,234.6
India, chickpea 3,993.0 48,698 53,179 162 ,712 14. 0
India, groundnut 1,037.6 4, 580.9 7,0 5 0 .3 11,891. 8 – –
Ethiopia chickpea 300.5 4,500.8 415.0 8,254.9 676.5 7,925.0
Ethiopia, common
758.0 10,071.2 965.8 15, 508.1 344.0 8,904.0
823 10,230.0 1,240.0 15,345.0 240.0 3,592.0
Note: Since 2015, the groundnut in India is no longer part of TLIII and chickpea—India is also limited
to Uttar Pradesh (UP).
Abbreviations: BS: Basic seed; CS/QDS: Certified seed/Quality declared seed.
TABLE 3 Trend of different seed
classes production as over project phases
   RUBYOGO et al.
As a result of strong partnerships supported by appropriate ca‐
pacity building and availability of improved and user‐preferred vari
eties, seed production and supply significantly increased. Between
2007 and 2017, hundreds of thousands tons of assorted seed classes
of the different legumes were produced as indicated in Table 4. In
most countries, about 90% of the total amount of seed produced
were certified seed, qualit y declared seed and truthfully labelled
seed. Thanks to community seed producers, these amounts of seed
produced were available for smallholder farmers in remote areas.
3.3 | Innovative and targeted seed marketing
Innovative approaches were adopted in seed marketing for fast and
efficient seed distribution, considering farmers' preferences and
farmers' purchase capacity. Sale of seed in pocket‐friendly small
packs proved an effective strategy for wider impact. The strategy is
not only convenient, but enhances af fordable seed access to farmers
and is also an affordable means of testing new varieties with farmers
while increasing the diversity of legume varieties accessed. The ap
proach also provided an opportunity for private companies to expand
the seed business to remote and poor hard‐to‐reach women farmers.
The small packs approach was extensively used to enhance wider and
affordable access to seed of improved legume varieties and to create
the demand for new varieties. Using small and af fordable packs, the
project spurred the growth of private companies by supporting them
to expand their distribution and marketing networks in remote rural
areas through diverse market channels. For instance, in remote areas
of northern Tanzania (200 km from Arusha—major city), Mr Byda,
one of largest seed distributors in Manyara region saw the bean seed
business opportunities. He opened more rural shops and bought mo
bile vender trucks which are linked to the seed companies. He sold
certified bean seed in 18 market places and in public gatherings as
sociated with churches/mosque, schools and health centres in three
neighbouring districts (Babati, Hannang and Mbulu).
The use of small packs showed that farmers not only wanted new
varieties, but are were also willing to pay for cer tified seed at affordable
prices. To meet this demand, it is prudent to market the seed in afford
able pack sizes, in places farmers can easily access and from vendors
that farmers trust (or who may be held accountable to buyers). Since
2007, small seed packs (i.e. sizes of 0.05, 0.1, 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10 and
25 kg) were extensively tested by private companies in seed marketing
across all crops in all the target countries (see Table 5). Although the
various pack sizes have various uses depending on the legumes and
contexts, the private companies indicated that 0.5 kg of bean seed and
below are suitable to be marketed during promotional activities (field
and open days) while 1 kg packs and above are commercially viable.
Between 2007 and 2017, nearly half a million packs were marketed
with more than 50% of buyers being women. Between 2015 and 2017,
an average of 20% of the entire seed produced was sold in small packs
of 0.5, 1, 2, 5 and 10 kg across target countries and legume crops.
The small packs approach is increasingly gaining popularity
among the seed companies and smallholder farmers as the most ef‐
ficient and cost‐effective means of reaching more farmers with af‐
fordable quantities of seed and a wider range of preferred varieties.
3.4 | Rapid adoption and use of newly
released varieties
Significant results were also achieved in the release processes of
improved varieties and their adoption. During the period 2007–
2017, a total of 163 varieties were released, of which, 106 varie
ties are still being used in production (see Figure 2), representing
65% retention. This resulted from rigorous and well‐coordinated
research for development which clearly focused on end‐user pref
erences. The process was also enhanced by sound collaboration
between CGIAR centers, NARS, UN‐Agencies, civil society, farmer
organizations, seed companies and local seed and grain dealers.
Using this kind of partnership in Uganda, NABE 15 (an early ma
turing and market preferred bean variety released in 2010 by the
Ugandan National Bean Programme) was promoted and marketed
by several Ugandan seed companies. By 2017 its adoption was
wider and impacts have spread to thousands of bean value actors
for example, farmers and traders in Uganda and in neighbouring
countries including South Sudan (PABRA , 2017; The Washington
Post, 2017). In Ethiopia, four bean varieties released in 2014 and
2015 are already being produced and sold by Farmer s' Cooperative
Unions, public seed enterprises and individual seed producers.
The use of demand/market‐led approaches in both breeding and
seed systems has shortened the period between release and use
from 10 or more years to <3 years.
TABLE 4 Evolution of seed production (tons) across TL target
countries, by crop bet ween 2007 and 2017
Crop 2007–2010 2011–2014 2015–2017
Chickpea 12 9, 60 4 334,166 6,767
Common bean 11, 355 30,896 8,305
Cowpea 2,495 5,279 2,501
Groundnut 21,927 41, 042 4,801
Note: Due to season overlap across countries, some seed data of 2017
were not included in this paper. Since 2015, the project was imple‐
mented in few countries or states (India) than the previous phases,
justif ying the lower figures in 2015–2017 than previous years.
TABLE 5 Amount of small seed packs distributed, by crop, per
country, in 2007–2017
Number of Small seed packs per crop
Chickpea Groundnut Common bean Cowpea
India 16,622 11,460 – –
Ethiopia 424 176,8 58
Tanzania 45 143,0 45
Nigeria 11, 50 0 75,885
Mali 6, 740 1 7, 30 0
Note: –: Country not targeted for the crop.
RUBYOGO et al .
3.5 | Enhanced access to legume seed
The concer ted efforts invested in developing and implementing
the seed delivery models showed impressive results in terms of
access to high‐quality legumes seed of user‐preferred varieties.
Between 2007 and 2010, more than 5 million farmers received
high‐quality seed of one or more improved legume varieties.
Between 2011 and 2014, collaborative efforts were stepped up
enabling more than 8 million smallholder farmers to access seed,
indicating a 64% increase in the number of beneficiaries from the
previous period; while in 2015–2017 period, despite reducing the
number of crops to four and countries to eight, more than 3 million
smallholder farmers accessed quality seed of improved legume va
rieties. In total, more than 16.6 million smallholder farmers, (61% of
them being women) accessed seed of improved legume varieties in
TL project countries between 2007 and 2017 (Figure 3). Studies on
adoption showed significant increase in the income of beneficiar
ies. In Nigeria, for example, adoption study conducted on cowpea
varieties showed an increase by 49% in the project sites.
3.6 | Increased productivity of legume grains
With the adoption of improved varieties and associated tech‐
nologies, productivity of legume grains significantly increased in
different countries (Figure 4). In Ethiopia, the bean and chickpea pro‐
ductivity increased by 52% and 37% , respectively, while groundnut
productivity increased by 38% in Tanzania. The concerted effor ts
and positive policy support from Government of India that encour‐
aged farmers to grow more pulses using quality seed and other in‐
puts le d to enhanced produ ction (22.95 million tons) of p ulses in India
during 2016–2017. Three districts (Hamirpur, Banda and Chitrakoot)
were covered under TL‐III project for popularizing quality seeds of
high‐yielding chickpea varieties and higher area was sown with qual
ity seed of chickpea resulting in higher productivity.
Except pigeonpea that recently saw its hybrid variety released, most
legume crops are self‐pollinating (Kaoneka et al., 2016; Saxena,
Kumar, & Tikle, 2013). The self‐pollinating nature allows farmers
to save their own seed with little yield penalty if they pay atten‐
tion to quality. Combined with high seed rates required for legumes,
this becomes a major disincentive for the profit‐driven private sec‐
tor to invest in legume seed business. On the contrary, emerging
seed companies in Africa focus on lucrative maize hybrid seed busi‐
ness that of fers repeat sales (Mabaya, Omanga, & DeVries, 2013).
Interest in legume seed business is increasing because of increased
demand for legume grain and products in the domestic, regional and
international markets.
Collaborative and market‐led approaches are keys to achieving
impact s if used in legume variety promotion and seed dissemination.
FIGURE 2 Number of varieties
released in TL II countries after 2007 and
those in production, by crop
FIGURE 3 Seed access across TL III
countries across crops between 2007 and
   RUBYOGO et al.
For instance the use of participatory variety evaluation and se‐
lection and demand‐led breeding approaches in common bean
(Almekinders, 2011; Buruchara et al., 2011) facilitated the release of
farmer‐demanded varieties whose seed demand was higher than it
used to be. Small scale farmers' access to quality seed of improved
varieties is often constrained by poor proximity to high‐qualit y seed
sources, thereby limiting their access. Asymmetry of information
flow about availability of improved varieties, insufficient amounts
distributed, high purchase price, poor technical knowledge, non‐
membership of farmer organizations and punitive regulatory frame
works work in concert to limit farmers' access to high‐quality seed
(Akpo et al., 2014). Embracing innovative partnerships that enhance
market access and feedback in variety development and dissemi‐
nation increase adoption and impacts. The use of participatory va
riety selection such as variety ranking by farmers can be used to
foster acceptance and adoption thus reduce wastage of resources
by developing varieties which probably might be rejected by farmers
(Odhiambo, Ngigi, Lagat, Binswanger, & Rubyogo, 2016). The par‐
ticipation of farmers, seed producers and grain traders during the
variety selection, release ceremony and subsequent promotion has
proven significant in identifying both variety agro‐ecological ad
aptation and market suitabilit y (Singh et al., 2014). During the past
10 years the Tropical Legumes Project has been working to improve
market orientation in variety development and dissemination to en‐
hance legume variety adoption.
In most countries, various categories of actors were involved in
seed production and dissemination to smallholder farmers. The di
verse stakeholders currently making a living out of seed business is a
good indication of the grassroot s works conducted to lay the ground
for sustainabilit y. Even the smallholder farmers in remote areas are
not left behind as it is the case when public sector and few seed
companies were the main players in production and supply. A good
example is Amwari Seed Company (Plc), born out of a farmers' seed
producer group in Adaa District in Shewa Region of Ethiopia (Ojiewo
et al., 2016).
Co‐investments by partner development organizations and de
centralized seed businesses significantly contributed to accessing
quality seed beyond the "traditional" high potential zones thus ex
panding seed access to the often overlooked smallholder farmers in
remote areas. This is an indication of the success of the approaches
and meth odologies that wer e designed and impl emented. For sust ain
able seed systems development, approaches that prioritized partner
ships, targeted the end users and where the roles and responsibilities
of all players were clearly defined guided the process (Christinck,
Diarra, & Horneber, 2014; Rubyogo et al., 2010). More importantly,
engaging the private sector particularly seed companies, individual
seed entrepreneurs and farmer organizations provided a foundation
for sustainable seed systems (CABI, 2014). Conducive seed business
environment would unleash the potential role of the private sector in
promoting seed systems development in SSA . From the project expe
rience and lessons learnt, some of the major steps to catalyze private
sector investment in legume seed included (a) aligning seed systems
to grain and value‐added product demand, (b) identification of ap
propriate varieties, (c) variety demand creation through multimedia
means including village‐based variety demonstrations through public
and private partnership, (d) bundle seed supply with complementary
FIGURE 4 Major legume productivity in some TLIII countries (source FAO, 2016)
RUBYOGO et al .
inputs and suppor t services to increase productivity and reduce risks
for example, seed dressing, crop insurance, adapted farm mechaniza
tion, (e) support seed companies to establish distribution networks
including mobile seed sale by local agro‐dealers as it is happening in
northern Tanzania with bean seed, (f) develop transparent and im
pact‐oriented license agreement with seed companies since few of
them invest in legume breeding, (g) expand the use of affordable pack
size for legume seed, (h) build seed production and commercialization
capacities of the emerging bean seed enterprises. Catalyzing private
companies to engage sustainably in legume was achieved in Malawi
using some of the above elements (Mugendi, Waswa, Mucheru‐
Muna, & Kimetu, 2011; Rubyogo, Magreta, et al., 2016a) and Tropical
Legumes Project learnt and borrowed from these initiatives. Private
sector role can be further developed through enhancing their com
plementarity with the public sector, for example, taking full charge of
breeder and foundation seed production. The promotion of comple
mentar y yield boosting technologies (i.e. seed priming and dressing)
that enhance the use of fresh seed of improved legume varieties over
recycled ones is an effective mechanism to grow farmers' interest in
seed and variety replacement. For instance, a wider testing of Apron
Star (a seed dressing fungicide, insecticide and root growth enhancer)
on beans in Tanzania showed a yield increase between 20% and 50%
(PABRA, 2018). This contributed to the increased demand of certi
fied bean seed since farmers got access to multi technologies and
increased the bean yield (J.C. Rubyogo, 2018 personal communica
tion).For sustainable legume seed sector development, we need to
foster interventions beyond seed. It is a common knowledge the seed
market cannot stand alone but is influenced by the grain market.
Working along the commodity value chain will significantly contrib
ute in expanding the legume seed business. A strong business par t
nership involving close ties through formal contracts with traders,
processors, warehouses and export markets will expand the grain
market of improved legume varieties. This would translate into seed
market and subsequently incentivize farmer and the private sector
to invest across the value chain, that is, from other relevant inputs to
seed through the grain and byproducts that are largely marketed for
various human and animal uses (PABR A, 2018).
Despite additional costs related to packaging (i.e. materials and
labour), the use of small packs has been more than successful in all
countries and for all crops. Additional costs related to packaging is
compensated for by many benefits, among them, increased seed
sale, wider seed coverage, including penetration in hard‐to‐reach
areas, introduction of new and multiple varieties and seed access
to poorer farmers including women. When new varieties are packed
in small packages even to about 0.5 kg, farmers can easily try the
variety at an affordable price (McGuire & Sperling, 2016). Since the
smallholder farmers grow legumes on small acreage (up to half a
hectare) in SSA, the small seed packs (1, 2 and 5 kg) rather than the
traditionally commercialized ones (25, 50 and 100 kg) contributed
to making quality seed available based on the smallholder farmers’
purchasing power and average legume acreage. Meeting the seed
demand of improved legume varieties is still a challenge as a result
of lower productivity of legume crops and lower capacity of public
and private seed companies. Thus, there is a need to promote yield
enhancing technologies and labour saving in legume seed produc‐
tion to meet the seed demand and cut the cost of production and
marketing (Katungi et al., 2011).
The different efforts made to bring existing legume technolo‐
gies to the knowledge of various investors (actors) including farmers
also made a huge difference. Demonstrations, fields, radio and TV
programs, seed fairs and agricultural shows and trainings permitted
to a larger number of stakeholders and smallholder farmers to be
aware of the technologies and self‐appreciate their performance in
their own field (Mugendi et al., 2011). Smallholder farmers in SSA
operate in so diverse and challenging environments that one variety
or one legume crop rarely fits in their farm and livelihood diversity.
The approaches used in the project inter ventions have been inno
vative to avoid such pitfalls through decentralized seed production
(QDS&TL) to get quality seed of improved varieties to the door step
of the end‐users, the resource‐poor farmers in remote areas. The
different trainings organized for smallholders and the linkage among
value chain actors along the dif ferent commodity value chain was
also impactful on the process of adoption and use of the legume va‐
rieties promoted (Walsh, Remington, Kugbei, & Ojiewo, 2013). The
training sessions on legume pre‐ and postharvest management in‐
cluding business management also enhanced skills and knowledge of
value chain actors. Through the Tropical Legumes Project work, we
proved that the disadvantage of legume crop to attract private seed
companies (being self‐pollinated) can be overcome if well‐thought‐
out tailored approaches are used in the dissemination of quality seed
of improved variety to smallholder farmers in SSA and SA .
Marked‐led approaches to legume seed dissemination have
shown significant results on farmers' uptake of varieties and sub‐
sequent improvement in their livelihood as it has been proven on
legumes (Ahmed, Mesfin, Abady, Mesfin, & Kebede, 2016; Rubyogo,
Magreta, et al., 2016a). Beyond legumes, similar findings have been
repor ted for tuber and ro ots, for example , cassava (Afolam i, Obayelu,
& Vaughan, 2015), cereals, for example, rice (Ouma, Bett, & Mbataru,
2014), maize (Awotide, Diagne, & Omonona, 2012). Rahman and
Luthfa (2004) also reported the positive farmers' response to seed
production as seed trade grows.
The different indicators used to show the effectiveness of our
approach largely match the indicators of The African Seed Access
Index (TASAI) for assessing seed systems per formance (see TASAI,
2017). The capacity building activities for breeders and other stake‐
holders, the number and diverse varieties made available for the
users, basic seed availability, public and private seed companies'
involvement, agro‐dealers engagement, use of alternative seed
certification scheme and seed loan activities embraced are good
Resource‐poor farmers are ready to adopt new, improved varieties
of legumes. However, only a full package of variety, complementary
   RUBYOGO et al.
technologies and innovative seed delivery models will achieve the
desired impact for better food and nutrition systems. Furthermore,
an efficient seed system for delivering varieties must be linked to
the commodity value chain. Developed grain markets are an obvi‐
ous driver of seed demand through which the need for productivity
is justified—but deliberate efforts must be put into creating work‐
ing linkages between the market s and seed/grain producers. Also,
seed delivery systems may intrinsically be region‐ and crop specific.
Therefore, a pluralistic approach will allow us to identify the best
bets, especially when enabled by policies that recognize seed out‐
side the cer tification scheme. The recognition of QDS contributed
significantly to access to qualit y seed of improved legume varie‐
ties and shortening the lag time between variety release and their
adoption by farmers. Investments should be made towards creat‐
ing demand for new varieties and complementary technologies. The
multi‐stakeholders approach enhances efficiency and effectiveness
in technology promotion. Diversification of seed sources by link‐
ing formal and informal seed systems is also a fundamental tool to
enhancing seed access to resource‐poor farmers especially those in
remote areas.
We acknowledge the productive partnerships within the Tropical
Legume Project. We also express our deepest gratitude to the vari‐
ous Governments who supported their national legume research
programmes and our donors especially Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation through Tropical Legumes II and III Projects led by
ICRISAT in partnership with CIAT, IITA and several NARS.
On behalf of the authors, I declare that there is no single conflict of
interest in the publication of this article.
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... Legumes are the main source of nutritious food for many smallholder farmers compared to cereals and animal-sourced foods (ASFs). 1 Legumes are good sources of protein, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron and zinc (Rebello et al., 2014;Iqbal et al., 2006). Legumes may also help increase crop yields through the biological enhancement of soil fertility and income (Rubyogo et al., 2019;Snapp et al., 2014). ...
... Legumes are important for the attainment of food and nutritional security and for improving farm incomes for many smallholder farmers in SSA (Hirvonen et al., 2020;Rubyogo et al., 2019). However, achieving this goal is often limited by low yields for legume crops. ...
... Third, the direct consumption of legumes-e.g., beans bio-fortified with vitamin A, iron, and zinc (Ogutu et al., 2020)-could improve the dietary quality and nutritional outcomes of household members. Fourth, income from legume sales could be used to buy other nutritious foods as well as invest in other crops and livestock species (Rubyogo et al., 2019). However, with the available data, it is not possible to conclusively analyze the income mechanism. ...
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Over the last two decades, most African governments have been implementing agricultural input subsidy programs (ISPs) aimed at increasing crop yields, and incomes, and reducing hunger, nutritional insecurity, and poverty. Although ISPs are popular policy interventions, it remains unknown whether they improve the productivity of nutrient-dense crops such as legumes, dietary quality, and child or adolescent nutrition. We address this gap by testing the hypothesis that subsidizing legume seeds (SLS) improves farm productivity, dietary quality, and child or adolescent nutrition. To do this, we use decade-long nationally representative panel data from Malawi and panel regression models with an instrumental variable approach to address endogeneity. We found that SLS increases area planted with legume crops, groundnut yield, gross value of crop production, along with production and consumption (dietary) diversity, calories, and micronutrient-vitamin A and zinc-consumption. We further found that SLS is positively correlated with child or adolescent weight-forage Z-score but not height-forage Z-score. These novel findings emphasize that SLS could be among the key policy interventions to address malnutrition in the Malawian small farm sector.
... NAMAs are one of several public policies that have seen advances promoting SPS as a silver-bullet solution for the sustainable intensification of the cattle sector, such as has been the case of Colombia (Ministerio de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural, 2019, 2020), Argentina (Presidencia de la Nación Argentina, 2018) and Costa Rica (Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería, 2011). A limited availability of legume seed, which depends on animal-mediated pollination for its production, may nevertheless hamper scaling efforts for sustainably intensified cattle systems and thus limit their potential to deliver ecological, environmental and socioeconomic benefits at larger scales (Rao et al., 2015;Rubyogo et al., 2019;Arango et al., 2020). ...
... This bottleneck could thus be tackled by having these companies add legume seeds to their portfolio. Alternatively, artisanal on-farm legume seed production could be integrated into the overall design of sustainably intensified systems (Peters et al., 2003;Chakoma and Chummun, 2019;Philp et al., 2019;Rubyogo et al., 2019), taking advantage of the numerous possible interactions between legume cultivars and local plant-pollinator networks (Palmer et al., 2009;Boelt et al., 2015;Suso et al., 2016;Cong et al., 2020). This approach offers the potential added benefit of income diversification and employment creation among smallholders. ...
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Major declines of insect pollinators are a worldwide concern. Such losses threaten human food supplies and ecosystem functions. Monocultures of pastures used to feed cattle are among the drivers of insect pollinator declines in Tropical Latin America. Plants of the legume family (fabaceae) are mostly pollinated by insects, in particular by bees. The inclusion of legumes in pastures (grass-legume system), as forage banks or the development of silvo-pastoral systems (SPS) with tree legumes, has been widely promoted to improve livestock production and soil fertility, but not to enhance ecosystem services from pollinators. Shortages of seed for the establishment of legumes as forage banks or within pastures or SPS remain a bottleneck for the improvement of ecosystem services brought about by pollinators within these systems and beyond. In this perspective paper, we provide an overview of forage legumes, their interplay with pollinators, and the ecological and socioeconomic benefits of pollinator-forage legume interactions, at different scales (farm and landscape level). We further discuss the challenges and opportunities of scaling sustainably intensified cattle production systems that integrate legume forage-seed production with principles of pollinator ecology and native beekeeping. Finally, we provide interested stakeholders, policy-and decision-makers with a perspective on how such agroecosystems may be designed and scaled into multifunctional landscapes.
... and supplied breeder seed to registered farmer organisations or individual entrepreneurs, which then produced either basic or certified seed with limited certification by government. QDS in Tanzania can only be sold within the district where it was produced. In ESA only three countries -Tanzania, Malawi, and Ethiopia -permit the production of QDS (Rubyogo et. al., 2019). ...
... Where legumes seem to differ from other sustainable interventions may be in their cultural and historic standing, but this is complicated by the multiplicity of markets for the products of legumes for food and feed. Hence, it would seem a key barrier is on evolving markets for generating value added from legumes (Dawson et al., 2019;Mabhaudhi et al., 2017;Rubyogo et al., 2019). ...
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Legumes form part of an ecological-based solution to intensification in areas with limited access to external inputs. Despite a number of decades of intervention, uptake of legumes has been slow within smallholder farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa. We explore the drivers behind the adoption of legumes by developing an indicator of household legume cultivation (HLC) from a bespoke survey of small-scale farm households in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A beta regression framework identifies the range of intensities across sites and farms, indicating a limited influence of agro-ecological zones and formal institutions on uptake. Age, income and gender have positive but very marginal effects. Intensive legume cultivations were less driven by commercial growth objectives or access to market oppourtunities indicating lack of legume markets to incentivize production. There was little interest in expanding farm area, which reflects the lack of assets available to these farmers and leads to the use of legumes for providing home nutrition, or supporting farm fertility and livestock feed. Further development of this HLC metric would be enabled by consistent data gathering across regions, or at least equally detailed studies of legume uptake.
... If farmers want to compete in the global marketplace, their produce must meet the grades and standards desired by end-users. R&D agencies linked through TL III implementation have designed and tested several demand-driven seed supply strategies, which provide the necessary incentives for farmers to buy seed from the recommended sources (Rubyogo et al. 2019). ...
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This open access book shares the experiences of Tropical Legumes III (TLIII) project in facilitating access to seed of improved legume varieties to smallholder farmers through innovation platforms. It highlights practices and guiding principles implemented in eight developing countries of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. This book details key processes that respective teams employed to create an innovation space that delivers seed, other inputs, knowledge and financial services to agricultural communities and most importantly, the underserved farmers in remote areas of the drylands. It offers valuable insights into the pathway to establishing, promoting and operating innovation platforms to enhance the performance and competitiveness of legume crops’ value chains, and addresses critical issues that must be considered to make innovation platforms more sustainable and attractive to beneficiaries. The book offers a wealth of practical insights for development workers, technical staff, and project managers. This publication is all about TLIII community of practice. It will definitely inspire other development workers and scientists to share their own experiences for others to learn from.
... If farmers want to compete in the global marketplace, their produce must meet the grades and standards desired by end-users. R&D agencies linked through TL III implementation have designed and tested several demand-driven seed supply strategies, which provide the necessary incentives for farmers to buy seed from the recommended sources (Rubyogo et al. 2019). ...
Full-text available
In June 2015, four multi-stakeholder platforms (Sanguie, Zondoma, Soum, and Association Yiye) were established in different regions of Burkina Faso to promote agricultural activities. By 2018, more than 200 farmers had already been trained on different aspects of the cowpea value chain including grain production, storage, and food processing skills. The platforms played a key role in the dissemination of new cowpea varieties through demonstrations, field days, the mass media, and social media. About 160 demonstrations were established by the members of the platforms every year from 2015 to 2018. Each platform was supported to produce 10 ha of certified seeds making a total of 40 ha each year and 160 ha during the four-year period. Due to the demand for foundation seeds that was increasing year after year in Burkina Faso and the inability of INERA to produce enough seeds, the most successful platform members were contracted by the INERA Seed Unit to produce foundation seeds in order to meet the high demand in the country for certified seed production. Although there are no official statistics about certified seeds produced in Burkina Faso in terms of demand, recent happenings have shown their increased production. For instance, in 2018 about 1000 tons of certified seeds were produced compared to previous years which had less than 700 tons.
... If farmers want to compete in the global marketplace, their produce must meet the grades and standards desired by end-users. R&D agencies linked through TL III implementation have designed and tested several demand-driven seed supply strategies, which provide the necessary incentives for farmers to buy seed from the recommended sources (Rubyogo et al. 2019). ...
Full-text available
Chickpea ( Cicer arietinum L.) is the third important food legume both in area and production after common beans and faba beans in Ethiopia. However, the productivity of the crop was very low compared to the potential as a result of non-use of improved varieties and technologies generated by the research system. To enhance the use of the improved and associated research technologies a National Chickpea Stakeholders Innovation Platform was established in 2013 with the objective of bringing together various stakeholders acting on the value chain in order to identify major challenges and find solutions that would be implemented through synergetic efforts. The platform identified seed shortage as a major bottleneck in the sector. This issue has been addressed through establishing farmers’ seed producer associations with the help of R&D partners and currently they are the major suppliers nationwide. Side by side, the platform strengthened the extension effort and triggered dissemination of improved technologies to a large number of farmers. As a result, productivity of the crop by model farmers increased by fourfold and the national productivity has been doubled to 2 ton ha ⁻¹ in the last decade. The platform also worked on improving access to market and recently chickpea joined the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange market. Cognizant of the huge development potential of the crop, the platform is striving to further strengthen the intervention and reap opportunities.
... If farmers want to compete in the global marketplace, their produce must meet the grades and standards desired by end-users. R&D agencies linked through TL III implementation have designed and tested several demand-driven seed supply strategies, which provide the necessary incentives for farmers to buy seed from the recommended sources (Rubyogo et al. 2019). ...
Full-text available
The high percentage of farmers (80–90%), including the pro-poor in remote areas, who have no access to recently released and high-yielding varieties proves the failure of various seed delivery models implemented so far. The ideal model to grow a crop commodity business to reach farmers in developing countries with seed of improved legume crop varieties has been a hard topic for development organizations. Past studies have shown that the full and balanced integration of multiple stakeholders’ knowledge and contexts into the process of agricultural technology development increases the uptake and ownership among end users.
... If farmers want to compete in the global marketplace, their produce must meet the grades and standards desired by end-users. R&D agencies linked through TL III implementation have designed and tested several demand-driven seed supply strategies, which provide the necessary incentives for farmers to buy seed from the recommended sources (Rubyogo et al. 2019). ...
Full-text available
Limited access to and low use of quality seed of improved varieties rank among the topmost causes of persistently low cowpea yields in Nigeria. This paper presents experiences under the Tropical Legume III (TL III) project in facilitating the access of smallholder farmers to seeds of improved cowpea varieties through the establishment of innovation platforms (IPs) that were introduced in 2015 as part of the activities of the TL III project. There was rapid adoption and use of newly released varieties by farmers as a result of increased awareness of improved varieties through multi-media and user-friendly communication strategies and tools. During the four years of the project (2015–2018), a total of seven multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs), which comprised six seed companies, 46 farmer groups, five public seed enterprises, two NGOs, and 718 individual seed entrepreneurs and other stakeholders, were established/strengthened to link actors in the cowpea value chain. Community-based seed producers were linked to seed companies while seed companies were linked to research institutions to access early generation seed (EGS). These activities led to the production of over 532 tons of basic seed and 8366 tons of certified/QDS seed of improved cowpea varieties that were entrenched in the seed system. Yield also increased almost twofold from 500 to 900 kg/ha on farmers’ field. Women and youth incomes increased as a result of seed entrepreneurship activities. The small packs approach was an efficient and cost-effective means of reaching more farmers with affordable quantities of seed and a wide range of preferred varieties.
... If farmers want to compete in the global marketplace, their produce must meet the grades and standards desired by end-users. R&D agencies linked through TL III implementation have designed and tested several demand-driven seed supply strategies, which provide the necessary incentives for farmers to buy seed from the recommended sources (Rubyogo et al. 2019). ...
Full-text available
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) funded Tropical Legumes (TL III) project was implemented in seven sub-Saharan Africa countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda) and South Asia (India). Shortage of seed of improved varieties has been identified as the greatest hindrance to farmer adoption of new agricultural technologies developed through this project. This chapter compares the different approaches followed by different countries in the establishment of Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MSPs) for supply of improved legume seed to farmers. Achievements from this initiative are mixed and multi-dimensional. The details herein provide the reader with insights on the level of success of innovation platforms in the different countries and implications for agricultural technology dissemination to smallholder farmers. Key achievements include strengthened linkages among various legume seed value chain actors, participation of several cadres of seed producers in a decentralized system resulting into significant increase in the production of certified and quality declared seed of legumes, and rapid adoption and use of newly released varieties by smallholder farmers. As for those areas where the initiative did not produce the desired results, it is a testament that unless a well thought-out inclusive and comprehensive approach which defines the critical roles of each player in the value chain is developed, current seed shortages will continue, eroding emerging market opportunities and good intentions of development partners. The reader is directed to individual chapters for details of the process followed by each country/crop in the establishment of MSPs, their composition, key achievements, challenges, and lessons for overall improvement of the national legume seed systems.
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Introduction As antiretroviral therapy (ART) is scaled up, more patients become eligible for routine viral load (VL) monitoring, the most important tool for monitoring ART efficacy. For HIV programmes to become effective, leakages along the VL cascade need to be minimized and treatment switching needs to be optimized. However, many HIV programmes in resource‐constrained settings report significant shortfalls. Methods From a public sector HIV programme in rural Swaziland, we evaluated the VL cascade of adults (≥18 years) on ART from the time of the first elevated VL (>1000 copies/mL) between January 2013 and June 2014 to treatment switching by December 2015. We additionally described HIV drug resistance for patients with virological failure. We used descriptive statistics and Kaplan–Meier estimates to describe the different steps along the cascade and regression models to determine factors associated with outcomes. Results and Discussion Of 828 patients with a first elevated VL, 252 (30.4%) did not receive any enhanced adherence counselling (EAC). Six hundred and ninety‐six (84.1%) patients had a follow‐up VL measurement, and the predictors of receiving a follow‐up VL were being a second‐line patient (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR): 0.72; p = 0.051), Hlathikhulu health zone (aHR: 0.79; p = 0.013) and having received two EAC sessions (aHR: 1.31; p = 0.023). Four hundred and ten patients (58.9%) achieved VL re‐suppression. Predictors of re‐suppression were age 50 to 64 (adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 2.02; p = 0.015) compared with age 18 to 34 years, being on second‐line treatment (aOR: 3.29; p = 0.003) and two (aOR: 1.66; p = 0.045) or three (aOR: 1.86; p = 0.003) EAC sessions. Of 278 patients eligible to switch to second‐line therapy, 120 (43.2%) had switched by the end of the study. Finally, of 155 successfully sequenced dried blood spots, 144 (92.9%) were from first‐line patients. Of these, 133 (positive predictive value: 92.4%) had resistance patterns that necessitated treatment switching. Conclusions Patients on ART with high VLs were more likely to re‐suppress if they received EAC. Failure to re‐suppress after counselling was predictive of genotypically confirmed resistance patterns requiring treatment switching. Delays in switching were significant despite the ability of the WHO algorithm to predict treatment failure. Despite significant progress in recent years, enhanced focus on quality care along the VL cascade in resource‐limited settings is crucial.
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This study has evaluated the impact of adoption of improved groundnut seed on the well-being of the farmers of Eastern Ethiopia using a cross-sectional data collected from 301 sample households. To address this objective, both descriptive and econometric analysis methods were employed. In the econometric analysis, Propensity Score Matching was used to measure the impact of adoption of improved groundnut seeds on well-being measured as expenditure per adult equivalent. The results of the study have indicated that adoption of improved groundnut seeds has a positive and significant impact on the welfare of the farmers. Therefore, socioeconomic variables should be addressed to improve the adoption of improved groundnut seeds, which in turn increases the welfare of groundnut producing farmers.
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Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan [L.] Millspaugh) is an important multipurpose grain legume crop primarily grown in tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America. In Africa, the crop is grown for several purposes including food security, income generation, livestock feed and in agroforestry. Production in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) is however faced with many challenges including limited use of high-yielding cultivars, diseases and pests, drought, under-investment in research and lack of scientific expertise. The aim of this review is to highlight the challenges facing pigeonpea breeding research in ESA and the existing opportunities for improving the overall pigeonpea subsector in the region. We discuss the potential of the recently available pigeonpea genomic resources for accelerated molecular breeding, the prospects for conventional breeding and commercial hybrid pigeonpea, and the relevant seed policies, among others, which are viewed as opportunities to enhance pigeonpea productivity.
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Seed can be an important entry point for promoting productivity, nutrition and resilience among smallholder farmers. While investments have primarily focused on strengthening the formal sector, this paper documents the degree to which the informal sector remains the core for seed acquisition, especially in Africa. Conclusions drawn from a uniquely comprehensive data set, 9660 observations across six countries and covering 40 crops, show that farmers access 90.2% of their seed from informal systems with 50.9% of that deriving from local markets. Further, 55% of seed is paid for by cash, indicating that smallholders are already making important investments in this arena. Targeted interventions are proposed for rendering formal and informal seed sector more smallholder-responsive and for scaling up positive impacts.
Limited access to seed of improved varieties is an impediment to agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa. Researchers in the national and international agricultural research systems have been piloting a community based seed multiplication and marketing enterprises (CBSME) model, as an alternative to the formal seed systems, in order to increase availability and accessibility to quality seed of improved common bean (Phaseolus vulvaris L.) varieties by smallholder farmers. The objective of this study was to assess the profitability of CBSME as an enterprise for seed production and analyse factors that influence farmers’ decisions to participate in it as seed producers or buyers of seed. Gross margins were computed to assess value addition at farm level; while Tobit and multivariate probit models used to respectively, analyse determinants of participation in community based seed multiplication enterprise and its use by producers as a seed source. The community based seed multiplication enterprises were found to be profitable, generating US$792 as gross margins and accessible to farmers for the bean seed, along other seed sources, i.e. formal and informal seed systems. These three seed production and delivery models competed at farm level, but complemented each other in terms of reaching users in different social groups and locations. Community based seed multiplication enterprises as sources of seed were used by farmers located in rural areas and those in farmer organisations/cooperatives. However, seed production through this model is concentrated closer to urban areas, where individual seed producers are easily linked to the formal seed system. This, however, makes the marketing of seed reliant on big buyers for redistribution among remote farming communities. Key Words: Community bean seed multiplication, Ethiopia, improved varieties, seed systems
ICRISAT works in agricultural research for development across the drylands of Africa and Asia, making farming profitable for smallholder farmers while reducing malnutrition and environmental degradation. We work across the entire value chain from developing new varieties to agri-business and linking farmers to markets. ICRISAT appreciates the support of CGIAR investors to help overcome poverty, malnutrition and environmental degradation in the harshest dryland regions of the world. See for full list of donors. About ICRISAT: ICRISAT's scientific information: We believe all people have a right to nutritious food and a better livelihood. ICRISAT-Mali (Regional hub WCA)
Through an innovative public-private partnership, Demeter Agricultural Limited, along with the Malawi National Bean Programme and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, supplied 2,559 tons of certified bean seed between 2009 and 2012 through the government's Targeted Farm Input Programme. Farmers were satisfied with the variety supplied, timeliness of the operation, pack size, and information provided. Growing numbers also accessed new improved varieties, from 264,661 households in 2009 to 344,200 in 2012. These emerging farmers’ demands and the subsequent DAL responses suggest a base for building sustainable delivery systems. However, decentralised seed-based systems will be needed for promoting varieties suited to micro-ecological niches.