Enhancing biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) of leguminous crops grown on degraded soils in Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania

CRSP:   |  Region:   |  Topic:   |  Database:

Project Code:

Start Date:

End Date:

CRSP Phase:
Phase 2


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Lead University:

Other Partners:
Makerere University; WSU; USDA-ARS; Michigan State Universsity; VEDC; Sokoine University of Agriculture; ISAR; Becker Underwood, Inc; NCRI; amson technology l.c.

Principal Investigator(s):
Mark Westgate

Co-Principal Investigator(s):
Mateete Bekunda: Makerere, Uganda; Lynne Carpenter-Boggs: WSU, U.S.; Karen Cichy: USDA-ARS, U.S.; James D. Kelly: MSU, U.S.; Phillip Miklas: USDA-ARS, U.S.; Henry Kizito; Musoke: VEDC, Uganda; Susan Mchimbi-Msolla, SUA, Morogoro, Tanzania; Augustine Musoni, ISAR Nygatare; Eda Reinot: Becker Underwood, Inc., U.S.; Hamisi Tindwa: SUA, Morogoro, Tanzania; Michael Ugen: NCRI, Uganda; Peg Armstrong-Gustafson: amson technology l.c., U.S.


Common beans are the most important legume crop in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania occupying a very large proportion of land devoted to legumes. For example, over 45% of the protein intake by Ugandans comes from beans providing 25% of dietary calories. Likewise, over 75% of rural households in Tanzania depend on beans for daily subsistence. Common bean is an important source of protein for low-income families in rural and urban areas providing about 38% of utilizable protein and 12-16% of daily caloric requirements. Improved bean production in Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania offers unique opportunities to address the deteriorating food security situation there and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.


1. The first strategic aim is to improve BNF and seed yields of common beans significantly using superior seed inoculants such as Becker Underwood's BioStacked® inoculant through farmer-based experimentation and adoption of innovative production techniques. 1a: To evaluate effectiveness of biologically stacked inoculants on local and improved germplasm. 2.The second strategic aim is to examine the inheritance of genetic and environmental variation in BNF in common bean, and to identify molecular markers associated with QTL conditioning for enhanced BNF, 2a: To identify parental materials for inheritance studies of BNF, 2b: To phenotype existing mapping populations for BNF response, populate with molecular markers, and conduct QTL analysis 3. The third strategic aim is to improve the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of agricultural systems on degraded soils through effective dissemination of new information and technologies to small-landholder farmers, 3a: To improve farmer awareness of inoculation technologies, 3b: To conduct on-farm demonstrations comparing inoculant strategies, 3c: To strengthen farmers' collective capabilities to purchase inoculants and incorporate them into a profitable and sustainable system for small landholders. 4. Increase the capacity, effectiveness and sustainability of agriculture research institutions which serve the bean and cowpea sectors in developing countries


- Graduate and undergraduate training is central to this project. Supporting advanced education for HC students with world-class scientists and training field technicians will contribute directly to HC capacity building. - Training of farmers and farmer groups on technologies to improve bean productivity will contribute to income and food security of smallholder farmers. - Improved on-farm productivity will enhance marketing opportunities for farmer associations. - Advancing inoculant technology for legumes will promote agricultural enterprises associated with inoculant production and sales. - New knowledge on bean germplasm x inoculant x environment interactions to inform ongoing variety development programs in the United States and host countries about specific improvements in BNF is needed to realize enhanced yield, nutritional value, and marketability of dry beans and other pulses. - Seven graduate students and at least five undergraduate students trained in agricultural research and extension.

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