Research, training, and outreach to strengthen the pulse sector in developing countries

Pulses are edible legumes (such as beans, cowpeas, chickpeas, lima beans, and pigeon peas). They are staple foods in developing countries that are nutrient dense and nutritionally complete. As nitrogen fixers, pulses also contribute to soil fertility. In many countries, women are the primary growers, sellers, and processors of pulse crops. Rwanda has the highest per capita consumption of beans in the world.

Changing global markets and increased competitiveness of other commodities, however, have triggered a decline in demand for pulses in some areas. Additionally, smallholder famers producing pulses often work on marginal lands that limit yield and profit potential. Transfer of the knowledge and skills necessary to overcome these challenges is difficult in developing countries where the national agricultural research systems are frequently lacking in capacity and resources.

Feed the Future Innovation Labs for Collaborative Research and CRSP scientists have worked to overcome these constraints in various ways, including training the next generation of scientists in the U.S. and overseas. Current efforts center on improving the pulse value chains in many countries, including thirteen of the Feed the Future focus countries across Africa and Latin America, especially on expanding both supply and demand for pulses. Other activities support improvements in crop productivity and environmental management. Nutritional enhancement of children is another direction. By supporting production, processing, and marketing of pulses, the Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research is an effective mechanism to implement programs that spur economic growth, improve gender equity by including women as stakeholders, enhance agricultural sustainability, improve nutrition, and increase food security in developing countries.

For more information:

Legume Innovation Lab (2013 – present)

321 Agriculture Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
TEL: +1-517-355-4693; FAX: +1-517-432-1073

Irv Widders, Program Director
Widders@msu.eduPulse CRSP (2007-2012)

Bean/Cowpea CRSP (1980-2007)